As President of Kelly Education (KE), Nicola Soares is one of the most influential leaders in the education staffing industry. She has led KE for more than a decade and under her direction, the business has evolved from a dedicated provider of substitute teachers to a full-scale education solutions company, placing 4 million educators in classrooms from early childhood to higher education every year.
Executing Soares’ bold vision, the business designed and launched new K-12 tutoring, para-education, and higher ed products and recently acquired Pediatric Therapeutic Services, to capture the rapid growth in this K-12 staffing specialty.
An advocate for educators and students, she is passionate about eliminating barriers to employment and committed to building healthy communities through a stronger education workforce.
A good teacher is the nucleus of a thriving society. However, teacher absenteeism is growing and what was once temporary is now becoming permanent.
In nearly every district and in every community, our nation’s educators are continuing to battle stress, exhaustion, and burnout—feelings only exacerbated by the lasting effects of the pandemic. They continue to suffer stagnant wage growth, and they’re frustrated by the perception that politicians, parents, and the public just don’t hold the profession in the high esteem they used to.
It’s no wonder that millions of educators didn’t return to the classroom this fall, deepening a talent shortage that was highly concerning even before the coronavirus pandemic. As America’s largest education staffing provider, filling more than 4 million educator vacancies annually, we at Kelly Education understand the problem acutely. It’s not hyperbole to call America’s educator shortage a crisis—and without swift and substantive interventions, our projections show the talent gap will double in just three years.
America’s education system is at a turning point, and how we choose to respond will impact the success of students, their families, our communities, and our economy at large. For this reason, we believe that it is imperative for us to have a deeper understanding of the impact of the educator shortage on the future of work.
This report aims to illustrate the breadth and depth of the current educator shortage crisis and includes an original survey of more than 2,000 U.S. business leaders in addition to previously published research.
These findings should serve as a major wakeup call for anyone who cares about our country’s—and our children’s—future. Without a qualified, ample pool of educators, we will see major impacts on learning for years to come.
The good news is, there’s broad consensus that the educator shortage is a real and catastrophic problem, and more can and should be done to improve the profession—especially among America’s business leaders, who depend on our nation’s education system to produce the qualified talent they and our economy need to lead us into the next generation of work and prosperity. To that end, this report also explores their concern about the educator shortage crisis and support for solutions that can help strengthen the educator talent pipeline and restore respect for this critical profession.
One thing is clear: solving the educator shortage is everyone’s responsibility. Addressing this crisis will take all of us, working together, to move education forward while ensuring every child has the people and resources they need for a bright future.
President, Kelly Education