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Teacher: Nantucket High School in crisis as staff openings get harder to fill and more retirements loom

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Nantucket High School

A Nantucket teacher says the island’s high school is likely headed for a staffing crisis this fall, as housing prices and island logistics make recruitment and retention increasingly difficult.

Some schools around the region are experiencing staff shortages due to COVID-19 and a lack of substitute teachers, but the shortage is becoming a broader problem on Nantucket, said Nantucket High School English teacher Page Martineau.

“We are in an absolute crisis,” she said. “We have a ton of retirements and resignations coming up. So I foresee in September that Nantucket is going to limp into the school year with a ton of openings.”

The district should have five social workers, but it could only retain one social worker for most of the year, she said.

Martineau is co-president of the Nantucket Teachers' Association.

Nantucket Superintendent Elizabeth Hallett said the schools have been able to access some counseling through a local nonprofit.

Hallett said that so far, job openings for the fall are comparable to other communities, but housing is a problem.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.