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Teacher Recruitment

Image with a teacher and two students in a classroom with text "Seattle Rising"

Apply to be an SPS Educator

Seattle might surprise you, we are a city determined to flip the script — to rise to the occasion of dismantling racist systems… no matter what it takes. This starts with a powerful body of educators that reflect the experiences of our students.

Teacher Certification Programs

Academy for Rising Educators

Academy for Rising Educators logo

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is committed to teacher diversity. The Academy for Rising Educators (ARE) is one way we are hiring and recruiting more educators of color.

The program helps SPS high school seniors and recent graduates, current SPS staff, and community members earn their teaching certificate. Graduates of the program commit to teaching in Seattle Public Schools for 4 years.

Learn more about the Academy for Rising Educators

Seattle Teacher Residency

Seattle Teacher Residency logo

The Seattle Teacher Residency is a 1-year teacher preparation program. Graduates of the program earn a Masters in Teaching through the University of Washington. The 5-quarter program begins in June and runs through August of the following year.

Graduates of the program commit to teaching in a Title I school in Seattle Public Schools for 5 years following their residency year.

Learn more about the Seattle Teacher Residency


Application Support

Tech support for completing online applications

Teacher Candidate Document Requirements

What materials do I need to become a teacher with Seattle Public Schools? Click the appropriate tab below to learn more about required documents.

WA state certification info on the OSPI website

NOTE: As an applicant, we understand you may not have all documentation at the time of application, however, you must hold or be eligible for a Washington State Teaching Certificate by August.

Recent College Graduate from an approved Washington State Certificated Employee Preparation Program will need to provide:

  • Proof of Certification with listed endorsements
    • A six (6)-month Washington State Permit provided by your college or university.
  • Unofficial Transcripts
    • Please attach your unofficial transcript(s) from your degree granting higher education institution.
  • References
    • Please list reliable contact information for at least three references in the application. These references should be from people in a supervisory or advisory capacity, who can speak to your instructional abilities. The following are examples of appropriate sources:
      • Your supervising teacher or program manager.
      • Another teacher or colleague in the building who has observed your instruction or real-time skill application.
      • Your college-provided teacher/program coach
      • Your principal and/or assistant principal of your school.
    • References we will not consider: A student, parent, or community member.

Current certificated Washington State school employee with at least one year of teaching experience (either substitute or full-time) will need to provide:

  • Proof of Certification with listed endorsements
    • A scanned copy of your current Washington State Teaching Certificate.
  • Unofficial Transcripts
    • Please attach your unofficial transcript(s) from your degree granting higher education institution.
  • References
    • Please list reliable contact information for at least three references in the application. These references should be from people in a supervisory capacity who can speak to your instructional abilities.
      • Two must be your most recent supervisors (If you are a certificated substitute staff member, then please ask the supervising administrators that have worked with you the longest this past year).
      • Someone (such as a teaching colleague) who can speak to your instructional abilities (If you are a certificated substitute, then the person whose class or position you subbed for is recommended).
    • References we will not consider: ​A student, parent, or general community member

Out-of-state applicant who has or will have a current or in-process Washington State teaching certificate by August:

  • Proof of Certification with listed endorsements
    • A valid copy of your Washington State Teaching certificate OR
    • A letter from your Education Preparation Program that includes your graduation date and endorsements
  • Unofficial Transcripts
    • Please attach your unofficial transcript(s) from your degree granting higher education institution.
  • References (Out-of-State Teachers with one year+ experience)
    • Please list reliable contact information for at least three references in the application. These references should be from people in a supervisory capacity who can speak to your instructional abilities.
      • Two must be your most recent supervisors (If you are a certificated substitute staff member, then please ask the supervising administrators that have worked with you the longest this past year).
      • Someone (such as a teaching colleague) who can speak to your instructional abilities (If you are a certificated substitute, then the person whose class or position you subbed for is recommended).
    • References we will not consider: A student, parent, or community member.
  • References (Out of State recent or soon-to-be college graduates):
    • Please list reliable contact information for at least three references in the application. These references should be from people in a supervisory or advisory capacity, who can speak to your instructional abilities. The following are examples of appropriate sources:
      • Your supervising teacher or program manager.
      • Another teacher or colleague in the building who has observed your instruction or real-time skill application.
      • Your college-provided teacher/program coach
      • Your principal and/or assistant principal of your school.
    • References we will not consider: A student, parent, or community member.

About Seattle Public Schools

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% Students of color

Space Needle

Our strategic plan is one of the most aggressive equity initiatives in the country. A transformation is happening.

SPS is looking for the game changers…those ready to “DO” show us what you’ve got – share your brilliance, your magic, challenge our assumptions, read our strategic plan, bring it and see what we can do together.

Here, we are a district and a city determined to break legacies of racism, together. Every student, every teacher, together. What does that mean for new teachers and what kind of support can you expect? Here are just a few examples of the type of support you can expect:

  • A New Teachers of Color Cohort that allow for teaming and like experiences
  • Weekly meetings of the Black male Teacher Affinity Group
  • A unique, one-on-one Consulting Teacher Program where new teachers learn from experienced educators to improve their practice.
  • Every Wednesday an early release for training across the district.

“Since the focus on our district is on Black Excellence and African American male achievement, our experience as Black educators is important for our system, where we bring value to the district, based on our experience as Black educators. Thus, there are several spaces of career growth and encouragement of career growth and advancement. Leadership development is important in SPS, and particularly the growth and leadership of Black leaders.”
—Dr. William L. Jackson, Seattle Public Schools

Working for Seattle Public Schools

Not only do we offer a nationally competitive salary, our grow your own commitment, mentoring and career advancement paths are designed to make sure Seattle Public Schools is where educators thrive.

Or maybe you’re wondering what it’s like to live and work in Seattle? Maybe you are familiar with Seattle, maybe you have never been. But, what you probably want to know is what it is really like? We asked around to share with potential educators the unvarnished truth. Thank you to our educators for sharing your voices:

  • Glenn W. Ford – Teacher, Rising Star at African American Academy
  • Chelsea C. Adams – Teacher, South Shore K-8
  • Kristie C. Thompson, M.Ed., SC – School Counselor, Nathan Hale High School

“I believe this district understands that they have underserved and miseducated generations of families in this city and the layers of generational mistrust and are putting forth genuine effort to produce change. I can say that I have come into contact with many educators in SPS who understand the urgency of the work that needs to be done to support our students of color specifically our Black students but like any large district we still have a lot of work that needs to be done. We know better so now we must do better.”
– Glenn, Teacher

“Many educators here are dedicated and like-minded in our desire to support our students and address historical and present day injustices in our education system. It is refreshing to hear consistent messaging from our district about the importance of supporting our students of color, particularly our Black students, but while we are still beginning to address some of the issues of race in our school system, there is still more work to be done.”
– Chelsea, Teacher

“Working in the Seattle Public Schools presents the unique opportunity of working with a diverse population of educators, students and families. Having students who are Native Americans, Asians, and even African migrants allow for a global perspective on how education impacts all student lives…there are unique opportunities as an educator to learn from other cultures as well as educate others and dispel untruths about Black American culture.”
– Kristie, School Counselor

“Every day students who represent countries and cultures from all around the world, walk through our doors. This district also has a very focused goal of supporting educators of color, and has initiatives to support African American male students navigate and succeed in our school system.”
– Glenn, Teacher

“We are the largest public school district and we also have the strongest educators union in the Northwest! People look to the Seattle School District to be the change to model what inventive,
creative and transformative education looks like. So there is still a lot of space for fresh ideas, new energy and collective support for these efforts.”
– Chelsea, Teacher

SPS is willing to have difficult conversations about the inequity of education and how it impacts students of color furthest from educational justice, and to invest in teacher training about ways that we can close the educational divide.”
– Kristie, School Counselor

“I have been told by so many students that I am their first black teacher; the joy they have and relief I see in their faces on the first day of class is unexplainable… Our children do not see enough teachers that look like them in front of them in the classroom. To produce more black educators our children need to see more black educators.”
– Glenn, Teacher

“While our student population represents an incredible diversity, our teaching population doesn’t yet match with that. I am often one of a few, if not the only, certificated black teacher in rooms or conversations where we are centering the experiences and needs of black students. We obviously need more black voices to be a part of these conversations and decisions.”
– Chelsea, Teacher

“I have been challenged with working with only a few educators of color. Though I believe diversity is embraced by Seattle Public Schools, there still seems to be a lack of representation in teachers of color. The challenge is having students experience the beauty of diversity in a school setting with teachers and administration of color.”
– Kristie, School Counselor

“Seattle is segregated; you can move throughout communities that were redlined for years…most of the black communities have been significantly gentrified. We have one of the most diverse zip codes in the United States a mixed population of immigrants from across the world that includes speakers of 59 languages just in the Rainier Valley.”
– Glenn, Teacher

“…When we look at the diversity that exists in the city, we can see cultures from around the world heavily concentrated in a relatively small section of the city. Different parts of the world all come together in Seattle.”
– Chelsea, Teacher

“People might be surprised about the amount of diversity in the student population. There are students who have migrated…from a myriad of countries of various cultures, traditions, and languages.”
– Kristie, School Counselor

“Community can seem hard to find for Black people in Seattle because we are so scattered around the city but if you make contact with some of the organizations, (ex: The Academy for Creating Excellence, BiMonthly Black Educators Café, or Black in the City events), you can find your way and your group of people you like connecting with.”
– Glenn, Teacher

“Finding the black community in Seattle can be tough for someone who is new to the city, but make no mistake, we are still here. The Pacific Northwest has a reputation of being really passive aggressive, but I don’t think that’s true of the Black community here.”
– Chelsea, Teacher

“…Sororities, fraternities, social organizations are very prevalent and visible in the Seattle community. The NAACP, The Links, Jack and Jill, and the Northwest African American Museum are some of the organizations where you will connect… Many corporate organizations, (Amazon, Microsoft) have a Black networking connection where employees volunteer, socialize and build connections.”
– Kristie, School Counselor

  • Jerk Shack
  • Soulfiend Seafood Kitchen
  • Drae’s Lake Route
  • The Comfort Zone
  • Lil Red Takeout & Catering
  • Island Soul
  • Pam’s Kitchen
  • Africatown Community Land Trust
  • The Umoja Festival in the summer

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Three Phase Hiring Process allows schools with special designations and positions in critical shortage subject areas to post externally during Phase I, II, and III, at which time internal and external candidates are eligible to apply. Special designations and critical shortage subject areas include:

  • Title I schools
  • Creative Approach schools
  • Special Ed positions
  • Language Immersion positions

Timeline:

  • Apr 4-10, 2022 Phase 1A Internal Job Postings – (Certs Only) Internal postings for certificated staff transfers, displaced and qualified substitutes requested by interview team
  • Apr 11–22, 2022 (Spring Break Apr 11–15) Phase 1A Interviews – recommendations due by 5 p.m. on Apr 22
  • Apr 25-May 1, 2022 Phase 1B Internal Job Postings (Certs, Contingency Contract Holders, SAEOPs, and Parapros Only) Internal postings for staff transfers, contingency contract holders, displaced, staff transfers, and qualified substitutes requested by interview team
  • May 2-6, 2022 Phase 1B Interviews – recommendations due by 5 p.m.
  • May 9-15, 2022 Phase II Internal Postings for displaced certificated, SAEOP, Parapro employees and certificated binding contingency contract holders only
  • May 16-20, 2022 Phase II Interviews – recommendations due by 5 p.m.
  • May 23-29, 2022 Final Phase II – Internal postings for displaced certificated, SAEOP and Parapro employees and certificated binding contingency contract holders only. All displaced cert employees submit position preferences; SAEOPs and Parapros select positions in descending seniority order
  • May 30-June 10, 2022 Assignment of Displaced Employees based on preferences and endorsements (Certs) and by seniority (SAEOP/Parapro)
  • June 13, 2022 – Hold in Phase II by subject area/SAEOP & Parapro job title until remaining displaced employees/binding contract holders assigned
  • TBD Phase III External Postings for all certificated, SAEOP and Parapro positions in subject areas/job titles where there are no displaced employees
  • August 1, 2022 – For building based positions, certificated voluntary transfers end on August 1 of each year, unless the two principals waive the deadline.

What are the teacher pools? Why do you have them?

SPS posts multiple subject areas pools for candidates to have a way to submit their information and indicate their interest in working with Seattle Public Schools before individual positions are posted by schools. The pools allow us to review your information, determine eligibility (and reach out to you if there is an issue with your application before you apply to schools). We review applications and often reach out to candidates to assist them through the hiring process. For some subject areas, we offer early interview opportunities and offer “early” or “contingency” contracts to candidates. Having an early or contingency contract allows candidates to interview alongside internal applicants sooner in the hiring season.

Why can’t I apply directly to schools right now?

Like most school districts, individual school budgets or allocations (the number of positions each school will get based on student enrollment) is not determined until the spring. Therefore, schools do not have an accurate accounting of all their hiring needs until mid- to late-March or early April.

When will individual postings for schools be up?

Once budgets are finalized at schools in late-March, the district begins its hiring process in early April, which goes in phases. The Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Seattle Education Association stipulates that current teachers be given access to positions for a period of time before SPS hires externally. We do not have a date for when external hiring will be this year, but typically, internal hiring starts in early April. Some subjects, such as Special Education move immediately into external hiring due to need, but other, lower need subjects or subjects for which the district has teachers it needs to assign for the next year, remain internal longer. Once all displaced internal staff within subject area have positions, external hiring will begin.

What do I need to include in my application(s)?

You will be required to include a resume and cover letter. You will also be asked a series of questions in the application. We urge you to draft the answers to your questions in a Word document, then copy and paste them into the application so that you don’t lose any work. If you have a copy of your WA State Certificate, we encourage you to upload it to your application so that we have it for reference if/when you get hired.

Can I update my resume and cover letter?

Once you submit an application, the system does not (currently) allow you to upload updated documents. When individual postings at schools are posted, you will be asked to upload a school specific cover letter and resume for each job you apply to.

What is a contingency or early contract?

A contingency or early contract is a contingent offer of employment from the school district. SPS issues two types of contingency contracts. Both allow the holder to be considered as an internal candidate and interview in the early phases of hiring. Hiring decisions are made at the school level by school-based hiring teams. Candidates with contracts must still interview and be selected for a position.

  • Binding – If offered this type of contract, the applicant shows high-potential and is being offered an actual job, though the location of the job is not yet known. If the teacher is not selected through the school-based hiring process, HR will place the teacher in an open position in late July, early August.
  • Non-Binding – If offered this type of contract, the applicant is showing high-potential and is being offered an opportunity to interview for jobs alongside internal candidates during the early phases of hiring. If the teacher is not selected through the school-based hiring process, the contract ends on July 31 at which time the candidate may accept another offer at a different district, if desired. The candidate may still apply to and be considered for jobs, but there is no guarantee of placement.

How do I get an interview for an early contract?

There are multiple opportunities to interview for an early contract, however, it should be noted that SPS does not give out contracts for all subject areas. This year, we anticipate offering contracts in:

  • Special Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Dual Language Immersion
  • CTE
  • Librarian
  • Physical Education

Applications submitted to our pools are reviewed, and candidates may be contacted to conduct a pre-screening interview to be considered for a contingency contract. SPS also conducts interviews at hiring events and career fairs.

I’ve applied to many positions, why haven’t I been interviewed?

Interview and hiring decisions are made at the building level. Some positions receive hundreds of applications, so not all applicants get an interview, even if they meet minimum qualifications. However, SPS hires 400-500 new teachers each year, from March until September, so there are many opportunities to apply and be considered. If you don’t get an interview early in the process, don’t be discouraged. We do much of our hiring in June, July and August. Keep applying!

What type of references should I include in my application?

References should be professional references who can speak to your instructional abilities. This can be a teacher or principal from your student teaching or a professor from your college or university. For experienced teachers, we would like to see references from former supervisors (principal, AP) or from a coach, observer or mentor teacher. Personal references, family, friends, colleagues/peers are not acceptable references.

When will references be checked?

References are checked once you submit your pool applications and are screened. This allows principals to see references as part of your application.

I don’t have a WA state license yet; can I still apply?

Yes, you can apply if you are fairly certain that you will have your WA stat certificate by Sept. 1, 2022. We will check for licensure upon hire and communicate with you on your progress toward getting licensure completed. If you do not complete it, you will not be able to begin work and your offer may be rescinded.

I’m from out of state, can I teach in Washington?

Yes, out-of-state teachers usually qualify for a one-year residency certificate and have one year to complete requirements to get a continuing license. More information about out-of-state applicants.

How much do teachers in SPS get paid?

Starting pay for teachers in Seattle Public Schools is just over $63,000. Pay is determined by degree and credits earned and year’s of experience.

2021-22 teacher salary schedules

All teachers are placed on the first lane and step of the teacher salary schedule until transcripts and verifications of employment are submitted to the SPS’s Classification and Compensation Department. They will notify you once they receive your documentation and place you at a higher lane/step on the salary schedule.

How will I know if I am selected for a job?

After schools complete their interview process, the school forwards the top candidate to Human Resources (HR) to make the official job offer. You will receive a call and an offer letter from HR.

What happens after I accept a job?

Once you accept, you will receive a link to activate your account in the District’s online onboarding portal. When you sign on, you will have a task list of required paperwork (you will complete online), required trainings and other tasks you should complete including fingerprints and completing your I-9 (employment eligibility document).

When is orientation for teachers?

All employees complete basic new hire orientation in training modules online. However, SPS holds a special New Teacher Induction Program, in late August (a week or so before school begins). Dates will be communicated later in the summer when finalized. New to teaching teachers attend three days of induction, and experienced teachers attend one or two days of the program. More info to come on that.

What is the first day of work?

Teacher begin work four days prior to students arriving at school for “contract days.” This is when teachers set up their classrooms, attend PD and staff/team meetings, get class rosters and other activities to prepare for the start of school. SPS historically begins the school year (with kids) on the Wednesday following Labor Day.

NOTE: Kindergarten teachers attend a week of “Jump Start “in late August to meet and help students get acclimated to school. Teachers are paid their per diem rates for attendance at Jump Start.

All teachers in Seattle Public Schools must have a teaching certificate. Washington state issues the Residency Teacher Certificate to most first-time applicants for a regular teaching certificate.

The candidate must have:

  • Earned a bachelor’s or higher degree from any regionally accredited college/university.
  • Completed any state’s approved teacher preparation program. This would be either an approved program through a regionally accredited college or university, or an approved alternative-route program.

OR

If you have not completed a state approved program, individuals may verify at least 3 years of K-12 teaching experience outside Washington and hold a regular certificate in another state.

  • In Washington there are 21 colleges/universities approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board to offer educator preparation programs.
  • Out-of-state applicants must pass a basic skills test (WEST-B) within 12 months of receiving a temporary permit. See teacher assessments.
  • Out-of-state applicants must pass an endorsement content knowledge test (WEST-E) within 12 months of receiving a temporary permit. See teacher assessments.

The first certificate issued is the Residency Certificate (First Issue), which is valid until the holder is reported as employed by a Washington school district as a teacher with 1.5 or more years of full-time teaching experience. This certificate must then be reissued with a three-year expiration date.

Yes. A current Washington State Teaching Certificate with appropriate endorsements is required to teach in Seattle Public Schools. A current Educational Staff Associate Certificate (ESA) is required for school nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, audiologists and therapists.

Washington requires that all teachers new to the state complete an application packet for their certificates. Information about this process can be found at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website or by calling 360-725-6000 or TTY 360-664-3631.

Yes. Every teacher, including substitutes, must register his/her Washington certificate with Human Resources before beginning a teaching assignment. Additionally, every teacher is responsible for registering all subsequent certificates with the district. You may email hr@seattleschools.org with a PDF of your certificate from the OSPI website to have it registered in our system.

A teaching certificate requires fulfilling educational requirements, whereas some vocational education certificates can be obtained through industry experience.

Endorsements are designated subject areas in which a teacher is qualified to teach. These endorsements are determined and granted by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) when a teacher applied for certification.

Categories are subject areas or grade levels identified by Seattle Public Schools within these endorsements. Categories provide a greater level of specificity within endorsements. For example, you can have a K-8 endorsement, but only select to have a category for grades 1-3 (E5 is the category), which will limit the grade levels in which you can be assigned. You can have an unlimited number of categories as long as you hold the proper endorsement for the category.

Non-continuing, leave replacement contracts are offered to teachers filling in for another teacher who is on a medical leave. Mid-year, principals are required to evaluate leave replacement teachers and make recommendations for their conversion to provisional status.

Provisional contracts are issued to teachers with fewer than two years of satisfactory performance in Washington Public Schools. A leave replacement contract lasting one year can be converted to a provisional contract and fulfill the first year of provisional employment for new teachers. After a second successful provisional contract year, teachers receive a continuing contract. One-year contracts are converted to second year provisional contracts if the teacher new to Seattle has had one-year of teaching experience in another Washington Public School. One-year teachers with additional Washington Public School experience are converted to a continuing contract.

Conversions are based upon recommendations from the principal and capacity to staff at the school.

In late-fall, SPS posts “Teacher Pools” by subject area to which all interested external candidates should apply. Applicants in the Teacher Pool will receive regular updates on the hiring process, hiring timelines and anticipated needs, information sessions, career fairs and more.

Later in the spring, available positions are listed on the SPS Job Opportunities Page. One application serves to apply for all positions including substitutes. When you apply to individual positions, you will be asked to answer supplemental questions. Please review each job announcement to determine if additional materials are required.

Certificated vacancies must be advertised for at least one week (7 consecutive days). However, positions may be left open until filled.