St. Mary’s public schools officials are looking for ways to hire a more diverse teaching staff that better reflects the diversity of its student body.

Those efforts will be among the day-to-day responsibilities of Nicola Williams, who began work last month as the school system’s new coordinator of certificated staffing and minority recruitment.

Williams was tasked with looking at what is working and what is not working in the school system in areas related to diversity, including recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. She said it will take some time to complete an assessment, but she already has ideas.

The achievement gap between minority and other students is “a complex issue,” Williams said. Funding, what’s best in terms of instruction and other issues need to be considered.

The local NAACP chapter and others have for years called for a more diverse school staff, including more African-American teachers to better represent the county’s demographics.

This year almost 19 percent of students in St. Mary’s public schools are African-American. Less than 7 percent of school staff members are black.

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