The following two stories come from the June 21 issue of Catholic San Francisco; both were written by Valerie Schmalz.


Come and teach

A long-predicted California teacher shortage is now hitting Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, with many parish schools still looking to fill one or more positions at a time when principals usually have next year’s staff roster wrapped up.

“We do have a tremendous shortage,” said Maureen Grazioli, principal of St. Charles School in San Carlos. “The shortage exists not just in the Catholic schools, but in the public schools.” A scan of the San Mateo public school job postings showed about 200 vacancies listed online, she said.

Four years ago the spring archdiocesan teachers’ fair drew “an amazing selection” of teacher candidates, Grazioli said. “Last year and this year there were more principals at tables than visitors,” the San Carlos Catholic school principal said.

The archdiocesan Department of Catholic Schools is in the midst of increasing the salaries across the board for elementary school teachers, for the 2017-18 school year, said Associate Superintendent for Professional and Educational Leadership Bret E. Allen. A draft of the proposed new three-year salary scale is being prepared by an ad hoc committee which will share it with pastors and principals for their input, he said.

“….It has become a real issue in our area,” said Vince Riener, principal of All Souls School in South San Francisco, noting some principals are looking for teachers outside of the U.S. Teachers relocating to the Bay Area from elsewhere in the U.S. are also among new hires, Grazioli said. A California credential requirement that teachers have one semester of public school teaching experience can hamper hiring too, Riener said. The requirement can make it harder for Catholic school teachers hired with a college degree to get their credential while continuing to work at a Catholic school.

A June 10 Catholic San Francisco search for teacher job postings on, the educator job portal, returned 8,292 job postings for a total of 16,044 job vacancies listed in California. Earlier, in mid-October, two months after the 2015-16 school year stated, still listed more than 3,900 open teaching positions in California, double the number in 2013….

A first-year Catholic elementary teacher with a bachelor’s degree and a California education credential will make $46,512 in the 2016-17 school years in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Allen said. A starting teacher with just a bachelor’s degree but not yet with a credential will make $41,600, Allen said. San Francisco Unified School District’s salary scale lists a first year starting salary for a credentialed teacher as $52,657.

With 34 percent of teachers statewide age 50 and older, and nearly 10 percent age 60 and older, retirements will continue to be a factor, for the next 5 to 10 years, according to “Addressing California’s Emerging Teacher Shortage.” However, non-retirement attrition is more significant, typically accounting for two-thirds of teachers who leave, the report by the Palo Alto think tank, said.

At the same time, the supply of new K-12 teachers overall is at a 12-year low, partly because of years of layoffs and salary freezes in the public school systems which discouraged students from choosing teaching. That is now being reversed in the improved economy, according to the report.

Come and look at the priesthood

High school is a time when teens are considering what to do with their lives – and the Archdiocese of San Francisco is offering young men an opportunity to learn a bit more about the priesthood and religious life.

Archdiocesan vocations director Father David Schunk is launching a vocations discernment camp July 31-Aug. 2 where young men of high school age can learn about the priesthood and religious life in a relaxed and reflective environment. Discernment weekends for high school students are a growing trend, said Father Schunk. “This is spreading; more and more dioceses are doing it,” he said.

Seminarians will help with the weekend at the Diocese of Oakland youth retreat center in Lafayette. The St. Thomas the Apostle/St. Monica youth and family minister Ryan Dilag will help Father Schunk run the weekend. There will be guest speakers, opportunities for prayer, and recreation. Families are asked to contribute $50 for the camp but scholarships are available. Application deadline is July 1.

A man needs to have graduated from high school, at the earliest, to be accepted for priestly formation, and Father Schunk said right now there is one seminarian who is college age. Most of the men are in their 20s and 30s. The weekend is a chance to think seriously about – or rule out – the priesthood or religious life, he said.