Williston hires more than 35 new teachers; school officials received out-of-state applications


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WILLISTON, North Dakota — The Williston public schools hired 37 new teachers over the summer to help deal with increased enrollment tied to the oil boom in western North Dakota.

School officials received out-of-state applications for the open positions, television station KXC-TV reported (http://bit.ly/XQB5C2). Schools have seen kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment increase by about 300 students, to a total of 3,447.

"Two weeks, or even a week before school started, I think I had five positions left in my building," said Darla Ratzak, principal of Hagan Elementary School, who hired teachers from Minnesota, Georgia and Missouri. "We can still be picky. I honestly don't believe that we're just hiring a body to fill the position. We're hiring quality educators that fit those positions."

Michelle Niska, who now teaches first grade at the elementary school, said she had an interview Aug. 14 and was told she got the job later that evening.

"I believe I have the best team possible," Ratzak said. "Walking through these doors every day, there's a reason to smile."

Hagan Elementary School also will benefit later from the city's new high school. In 2016, fifth and sixth graders will move into the existing high school, freeing up six classrooms at Hagan.

Information from: KXMC-TV, http://www.kxnet.com

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