The Texas Education Agency on March 15 announced plans to add two dozen public teachers to the teacher vacancy task force following the group’s first meeting.

When the task force was first announced March 10, 16 of the 28 original members were superintendents from across the state, 10 were district human resources and operations officials, and two were teachers.

Task force members recommended the addition of more classroom teachers to the group in an effort to ensure ttheir perspectives were equally represented, according to a March 15 TEA press release.

Josue Torres, a fourth and fifth grade math teacher from Dallas ISD, has been selected as the chair of the task force, and the group will be organized into several work groups to focus on specific challenges identified so far.

“I am honored for the opportunity to lead this task force focused on ensuring we have great teachers in every classroom,” Torres wrote in the March 15 press release. “This task force has the ability to recommend the needed changes and innovative solutions necessary to ensure all Texas students have access to the high-quality educators they deserve.”

According to the TEA, some primary goals of the task force will be to understand the challenges districts are facing related to teacher vacancies, develop recommendations for regulatory or other policy changes for the TEA, and provide feedback on TEA initiatives designed to help impact vacancies.

The group will also share best practices for addressing critical teacher vacancy and shortage areas and explore opportunities for certification, placement and hiring flexibilities, according to the release.

Visit the TEA Teacher Vacancy Task Force website for more information and for a list of task force members.