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Lake County Port, other agencies, launch teacher welcome day

Simon Husted | The News-Herakd

As schools plan their orientations for incoming students next month, county-wide leaders are applying that same strategy for new teachers coming into the county. The Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority announced earlier this week that its first ever New Teacher Welcome Day will be taking place Aug. 11. The day is spun off of an idea by Alliance for Working Together Foundation founder and Fredon President Roger Sustar to acclimate new teachers to Lake County’s manufacturing economy.

In addition to that goal, the day will also introduce teachers to the educational resources Lake County offers. It also means introducing newcoming teachers to the area’s park system and nursery industry. The day is being collaborated between the authority, the Lake County Educational Service Center, Alliance for Working Together — a non-profit group that advocates for manufacturing jobs among student, and Lake Metroparks with support from the Lake County Chambers of Commerce.

“Supporting our manufacturing community is key to ensuring the county’s economic prosperity and through this innovative event we can bring the manufacturing and education communities together in a way that will enhance the outstanding academic opportunities and career readiness programs that already exist in Lake County,” said Peter Zahirsky, the authority’s coastal manager, in a statement.  The authority estimates that one out of every three jobs in Lake County is tied to a manufacturing company. Executive Director Mark Rantala said his group doesn’t have a statewide average figure for comparison, but Lake County is near the top in the state.

This orientation-day concept also comes at a time when more new teachers are expected to be replacing retiring ones thanks to changes in the State Teacher Retirement System’s pension formula that are taking effect next month. Organizers stress that the connection is only a coincidence and they plan to continue this orientation in following years. Brian Bontempo, superintendent of the county educational service center, said his center hadn’t polled school districts on how many teachers had retired at the end of last school year. Nevertheless, he said so far 50 new teachers have indicated they will be participating in the voluntary orientation event and he can see that figure rising as high as 100. 

The deadline for registration is Aug. 3. Teachers new to Lake County who would like to register for the Aug. 11 event, are asked to contact Heidi Fyffe-Yocum at the Lake County Educational Service Center at 440-350-2563, ex. 722 or[email protected].