With a pen stroke, Lauren Lazell committed to being a teacher in the Wichita Public School system. She is realizing a dream she has had since she was a kid. “Growing up in USD 259 and seeing all of the amazing teachers that I got to encounter. I always wanted to be just like them.”

She and nearly 20 others today signed a letter of commitment with the Wichita Public School District for its first-ever teacher signing day.

Tammy Martin, executive coordinator of new teacher induction for the district says this event is a celebration for these new students. “Teaching is a challenging field to enter, especially right now and we really want them to know that anybody that's entering the Wichita public schools, we have a group of people that are here to support that."

These new teachers are coming at a time when the district needs them. "We, along with a lot of other districts in the state of Kansas, there's been a huge teacher shortage. So, this is a great time to celebrate them" Chief Human Resources officer for the district, Sean Hudspeth, told KAKE. 

The district had 93 teacher openings at the beginning of the school year. Hudspeth says 259 is working harder at recruiting and retaining teachers, starting with events like today. “One of the things they need to know is they're supported and they're surrounded by professionals and experts in the field that are gonna give them the guidance and the ability to be successful in and out of the classroom.”

As for Lazell, she says today has just reaffirmed why she became a teacher. “Makes me feel so ready."