The need for substitute teachers |

The need for substitute teachers

Christine Kuklica
Substitute teacher Sabrina Howells reads to a class at Northside Early Learning Center.
By Christine Kuklica / |

The lack of substitute teachers who are willing to work in the classroom is becoming a problem for Churchill County School District, leaving the administration with no other option but to find the reason why those on their list aren’t responding to teach.

Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon and administrative secretary Lori Norcutt both said they hope the situation can be resolved soon.

Sheldon said CCSD currently has 89 substitute teachers, but she doesn’t think that at one time they have 89 regular classroom teachers out. According to Sheldon, she is unsure why the district is having trouble filling open positions when teachers are out, but the first-year superintendent is hopeful she will be able to figure out their reasons once she speaks to the substitute teachers.

Norcutt also offers another reason.

“I don’t think that it’s the amount of subs on the list,” Norcutt said. “I think it has to do with the subs not wanting to work everyday.”

Sheldon said the subs get to choose their schedule, when they’d like to work, where and what grades they would like to sub at. The subs aren’t contracted or required to fill in when the district needs them.

Sheldon said she is unsure as to the exact reason why substitutes aren’t signing up for days and said that it is not a problem isolated to Churchill County; she said there are districts close by and across the nation that are having trouble with getting substitutes to work.

Sheldon believes one of the reasons as to why there is a lack of substitutes within the district is because some substitutes are selective with the schools and grades for which they will sub.

“Several subs know what classes and grades they like and are only willing to sub when they are available,” Sheldon said. “So it leaves many open spots that are not able to be filled.”

Sheldon said the lack of subs might be related to the pay not being where they would like it to be and/or if there are other reasons why they are not doing it.

“We’re hoping at the mandatory meetings that we plan to have we are able to get good feed back on what we can do to help get them to sub,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon said she spoke to other districts and found out CCSD pays more than some. She said the district, at one point, paid $100 a day but because of budget cuts the pay had to be reduced to $90.

Sheldon said the district is trying to be proactive to find more substitutes to fill on the open days. She said the district is running a banner for subs on its website and is planning to do more advertising to get the word out.

Norcutt said in the last three months, they have added 10 subs to the list and are working to add a few more.

Sheldon said during the mandatory training the substitutes will attend, specific topics will be covered such as harassment, bullying, cyber bullying, blood born pathogens and hazardous chemical. She said a survey will be conducted to figure out what the district can do to entice substitute teachers to work.

The school district would like to make it clear on the minimum qualifications that substitute teachers need to possess, according to the district and the state.


Applicant must be a citizen of the United States or be a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Minimum 60 semester credits or an associate’s degree earned through a regionally accredited college/university reflected on an official transcript. Foreign transcripts must be accompanied by an original course-by-course and degree equivalency evaluation done by an approved evaluator service before application for licensure is made.

Required documents for application

Four page substitute application packet (initial application form child support form, and fingerprinting authorization form). If you have indicated a positive response on the restricted personal data questions, please submit a disclosure form TL.Disc.

Application fee $161.

One completed FBI fingerprint cards FD- 258.

Official transcripts.

For retired teachers who would like to sub they just have to notify Norcutt with some form of written letter to be put on the substitute list and they will be added.

NAC 391.332 now requires that substitute teachers meet the following requirements in order to renew their substitute license.

To renew an endorsement as a substitute teacher in kindergarten through grade 12, the holder must

Hold a valid nonprovisional special license

Complete six credits, or the equivalent, within five years after the initial issuance of the endorsement by doing the following:

Attend a course at, or taking a correspondence course given by an accredited college or university

Attend any state or national conference, which has been approved by the department to offer credit for continuing education

Attend an in-service course offered by the department or a continuing education course offered by a provider who is approved by the commission

Attend a workshop approved by the department

Attend professional development activities approved by the department

Sheldon said the application process has changed recently and that it has become easier to apply for the substitute teacher list. She hopes with all of the positive changes and the survey that will be done the district can solve the low number of subs willing to work.

“We want to find a middle ground with the substitute teachers,” Sheldon said. “Something that will benefit them as well as the district.”