CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools held a job fair Friday to hire teachers to help combat a citywide shortage.
Armed with a new education degree and 10 years of preschool experience, 43-year-old Shamika Morgan's goal is to become a Chicago Public Schools teacher.
"To have teachers who played a really great role in my life, I would love to be that teacher in another child's life," she said.
Derek Patterson, 26, is moving to Chicago from Springfield hoping to make a difference as a CPS social studies teacher.
"I think we are living in a moment of history where the next generation needs to know how to learn about the past," he said.
Patterson and Morgan would both like to teach at a school in an underserved neighborhood. Their chances are pretty good.
"We tend to see most vacancies on our South and West Sides," said CPS senior recruiter Melissa Sakleh.
It was almost all South and West side schools who participated in Friday's CPS job fair. Some had long lists of open positions. Principals said some vacancies are due to teachers transferring to new counseling and intervention positions.
"It is very difficult to find qualified teachers," said Jaqueline Dillard, principal of Tanner Elementary. "I have several resumes and I've already set up the interviews so, I'm very hopeful."
CPS is hopeful it can fill the vacancies before the first day of school.
While a teacher shortage has been a challenge for many school districts, CPS believes it has a big advantage because its teachers are among the highest paid in the state and the country
"We start our teachers off, it's about $60,000 with a Bachelor's degree," said Sakleh.
With 50 schools represented at Friday's fair, over 100 teaching candidates showed up looking for jobs
If principals didn't have luck finding qualified candidates today, CPS is hosting two more in person job fairs before school starts on August 22.