The Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) is in dire need of substitute teachers. District superintendent Brigid Nease said that the district is averaging 95 staff out each week across the district’s seven schools and the district currently has 21 approved subs on its list.





Of those 21, she said, only six or seven are regularly able to fill the vacancies.

The reasons for staff being out are myriad. In addition to the usual absences caused by personal, professional and sick days taken by educators, most of the need is driven by COVID mitigation strategies, Nease said. Educators are often required to quarantine either by getting COVID or having their own children get COVID or be exposed to the virus.

“Another main reason so many subs are needed is the staff shortage everywhere in all public and private sectors. We still have approximately 21 unfilled positions, 13 of which are paraeducators. This is true with districts across the entire state. So, we are already behind before anyone even calls in,” Nease explained.

With so few subs available and so much need, Nease was asked what happens if no sub can be found.

“If no sub can be found, the principal, office staff, really anyone on staff steps in for all or part of the day -- kind of like a patchwork quilt. Many, many teachers are paid extra money to give up planning time to cover for colleagues. I cannot say enough about how staff keep stepping up so we can keep schools open. They then need to do all their own planning, grading, etc. at home at night and on weekends,” she clarified.




At a November 17 HUUSD Board meeting, Nease made a direct plea to the community to step up and help as substitute teachers, telling the board that it is increasingly hard to keep schools open without more help.

 “We need to make a plea to the community. We need help,” Nease told the board at the November 17 meeting. 

Community members who have time to help are encouraged to apply to be substitute teachers in the district. Subs are paid as contractors. Daily intermittent subs are paid $120 a day and on-staff every-day subs are paid $140. The day is eight hours. Subs must have a high school diploma, although an associates or higher degree is preferred.

Subs need to provide their fingerprints for online background checks as well as proof of COVID vaccination. Subs teach using the lesson plans that the absent teacher provides, following that class’s schedule. There is usually a neighbor teacher to show one the ropes and provide support, Nease said.

Once approved, a sub is placed on the district’s list and will use the Ready Sub online tool to review openings in all seven schools and sign up/commit to those days and or the assignments they want to do.

Here is the process:

1. Interested candidates must first complete the multi-page application form at (scroll to the bottom and click on Substitutes in the Quicklinks) and send to Alyssa Dybala at 340 Mad River Park, Suite 7, Waitsfield, VT 05673 or email/scan to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. People may attach a resume as well.

2. Applications will be presented to an administrator in one of the schools checked in the application, who will contact the applicant to set up an interview. Once the central office has been notified that the interview has taken place and reference notes have been received, Alyssa Dybala will contact the applicant to complete the criminal record check paperwork.

3. This paperwork is necessary in order to have the applicant’s fingerprints taken by one of the identification centers in Vermont. Applicants must bring a valid photo ID and a check or money order for $13.25, which covers the cost of processing the record check. Once completed, applicants will receive the Fingerprint Authorization Certificate (FAC) that they will need to take to the identification center.

If applicant has already completed the criminal record check in another school district in Vermont within the last three years, they do not have to go through the process again unless there has been a one-year break in applicant’s service to a school district. Applicants may sign a release form so the district can obtain the record check result from that district.

4. Next, applicants will need to contact a County Identification Center ( and make an appointment to have their fingerprints taken. There is a $25 fee for taking the prints. Applicants will need to bring two forms of ID, one that must be a photo ID. 

5. The identification center sends applicant’s fingerprints to the Vermont Department of Public Safety, which will check for Vermont records, any other state listed on the Request for Criminal Record Check form, and the FBI records. This takes approximately four to six weeks. Employment is contingent upon the result of the criminal record check and applicants will not be placed on the HUUSD substitute list until criminal record check results have been received by the central office.