ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With teacher shortages, education majors are taking the time to find a school district that best meets their needs. Annie Gilb is graduating from Abilene Christian University (ACU) this spring and is looking for a school that supports first-year teachers.

“Creates a safe and loving environment for both the students and the teacher,” said Gilb.

During a workshop meeting with Abilene Independent School District (AISD) board members, Mrs. Alison Sims, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, said finding teachers can become a challenge if the shortage continues.

The district hires some teachers from Hardin Simmons, McMurry, and Abilene Christian, but with a smaller graduating class this school year. Sims is thinking ahead.

“Previously, I would say our three universities in town were great places to market ourselves. Still is and we still do, but if we only depended on that we would be in trouble,” Sims explained.

She added that they have better luck finding the best teachers for their students through online job fairs.

“That’s really been the best thing we had done as far as advertising and getting good applicants,” Sims added.

Graduating this spring from ACU, Lars Lindgren said with the shortage, he has more opportunities when it comes to a job.

“It’s good to feel that I think every booth I’ve gone to has asked for my resume, so it’s good to feel honored and have job security,” shared Lindgren.

Chris Bailey from AISD said with the city of Abilene growing, resources from Dyess and the three universities, she hopes it will attract younger professionals to the city

“We do have candidates that come from the Dallas Fort Worth area (and) the Houston area. They are looking for a smaller environment. The district is really a family, and we were able to provide support that you don’t necessarily see in a district that has 50,000 students,” said Bailey.

Nonetheless, Bailey said AISD is always focused on hiring quality teachers. She added that the shortage is not a large concern now, but it is something to keep in mind for the future.

Some school districts are offering benefits and incentives like free childcare, higher pay and sign-on bonuses to increase teacher applicants in the districts, all in an effort to find the right teacher.