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Putnam County School District's Novice Teacher Retention Program rebounds after a pandemic

The Putnam County School district's novice teacher retention program is rebounding since the pandemic.

The district is committed to new teacher retention. However, school officials never turn their back on vetted instructors.

"We really focus a lot on our novis teachers with our mentor program. We also have to focus on our teachers who have been here, who have stuck it out through the ups and down of everything public education goes through," said Tonya Whitehurst, the district's human resource director.

The program allows teachers new to the district an opportunity to integrate into their new role. Former highly experienced teachers mentor those in the program. To improve morale post-pandemic, faculty received a pay increase.

In 2017, the Putnam County School District was retaining 65% of its new teachers with zero to three years of experience. That is the year they also opened their novice teacher retention program. In the 2019-2020 school year, they were retaining 93% of their new teachers; however, that number dropped to 85% during the pandemic.

School officials said in the 2021-2022 school year they rebounded back to retaining 90% of their new teachers.

As of this month, 98% of positions in Putnam schools are full.

Elena is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing
Ashley is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing