With less than three weeks until classes resume, school leaders still need to hire nearly 40 teachers.
The district has about 1,200 special education teachers working with nearly 19,000 students. There is a critical need for teachers certified in adapted curriculum, teaching students with severe or profound autism, or those with moderate intellectual ability.
"There are only so many candidates that are graduated each year from the university. I think that's part of it. I think also, there's many school districts where there are opportunities. Special education is notoriously an area where there are needs," said WCPSS Special Education Services Director Jacki Russell.
Lindsay Tobin runs a classroom of 10 at Rolesville Middle School, with the help of others highly trained like her.
"We all work together as a team and we've all got to pull our own weight," Tobin said.
She urges prospective teachers to step up to the challenge.
"It brings you so much satisfaction and it much outweighs the tough times that you go through," Tobin said.
Leslie Welch heads up the Wake County Chapter of the State's Autism Society and says the shortage is alarming. Her 10-year-old son Joshua will go back to Kingswood Elementary without a special education teacher, unless the school can fill the empty spot before school starts.
Traditional classes start on Aug. 26. The school system is holding a hiring blitz Saturday from 9-11 a.m. at the Harriet Webster Center in Cary. Interested candidates are asked to apply online first at http://www.wcpss.net/SpecialEdTeachers/.