While many districts across the state are reducing staff due to budget cuts, Tomball ISD is hiring 101 new teachers, administrators and support staff to accommodate a 4 percent enrollment growth and the opening of Timber Creek Elementary School.

"The largest reason for us hiring these folks is the explosive growth we've had in the last couple years, and anytime you open a new school, there's a huge influx in employees," Tomball ISD Deputy Superintendent Huey Kinchen said.

Timber Creek, which is located on a 12.88-acre site at 8455 Creekside Green Drive in The Woodlands, is Tomball ISD's 15th campus and will encompass kindergarten through sixth grade. The school will have a capacity of 844 students in a 115,000-square-foot facility. The school was funded by Bond 2007, Tomball ISD's $198 million bond referendum approved by voters five years ago. Jo Ann Colson, who has been the principal of Willow Creek Elementary for the past nine years, was selected to be Timber Creek's principal last November.

Joining Colson at Timber Creek will be 36 new staff members—18 teachers and 14 support staff, including counselors, instructional aids, front office staff, custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers. The district began the hiring process at the beginning of the summer and hopes to have all staff hired before the school year starts Aug. 27, said Deputy Superintendent Huey Kinchen.

"We're looking for the best people possible," Kinchen said. "As an example, we just posted a job for an assistant principal, and we had 121 applicants, so the pool's rather large. We have a good screening practice, and based on interviews, we've been able to narrow that to finalists. We try to get people who will work directly with them involved in the process and the [school's] principal makes the key recommendation."

With Tomball Memorial High School adding a junior class after opening in 2011 with a freshman and sophomore class, 27 additional employees will be hired including eight support staff and 18.5 teachers. Kinchen said the district has been very pleased with the high school's first year.

"[Principal Carol] Houston did a great job setting the tone and trying to establish tradition and give [the school] a unique identity while still functioning within the framework as a Tomball ISD school," he said. "The collaboration between the two high schools has been excellent and the prinipals have created a healthy, competitive environment between the two schools."

Next year, the high schools will be competing in the same district for the first time as they have both been classified as 4A schools.

Individuals wishing to apply for any of the open positions at Tomball ISD can apply through the district's website at www.tomballisd.net. The average annual salary of a teacher working in Tomball ISD is $51,673 compared to $48,638 for the state, according to the Texas Education Agency.