BEDFORD, N.H. — Nathan Rees has been a teacher at Bedford Elementary School for 11 years.
The next year, he’ll be able to retire.
It’s a big deal for Rees, who plans to go back to school full time.
“I think the fact that I’m going to be able the full time has been the biggest part of my decision to stay,” he said.
Bedford’s board voted Tuesday to hire at least 10 new full-time teachers, bringing the district’s total to 26 full- and part-time staff.
More:The Bedford School District is the first district in New Hampshire to add more teachers, according to a news release.
The district hired nine teachers last year, up from seven, and is set to hire two more next year.
This year, the district has been hiring full- or part-timers, but there are some hurdles ahead.
The state has not set any timelines for when it plans to meet that goal.
One of those hurdles is finding qualified teachers.
About a third of the districts workforce is full-timing, according the district.
Rees and other teachers have expressed concerns about finding the right balance of teaching and teaching-related jobs.
“The fact that it’s so competitive, it’s really important that we’re hiring and retaining the best teachers,” said Bedford Board of Education Chair Jennifer O’Brien.
To do that, the board approved a $2.9 million grant to help pay for new teachers and support staff.
The grant will pay for the hiring of 10 teachers, plus staff and equipment.
The district expects to hire more than 100 full- time positions over the next two years.
Bedford already has more than 300 full-term teachers, including teachers at the school’s school library, school cafeteria and other facilities.
More:More:To meet its goal, the Bedford district will need to hire new teachers quickly.
The average teacher leaves school before the end of August and stays until the start of October.
To keep teachers on the payroll, the school district will require all new hires to take a 60-hour work commitment and pass a drug test, according school district officials.