Rikke Dehnbostdl is not only new to Loudoun County, but she is new to the United States. The Denmark native and her husband, Jan, moved to the area to participate in Loudoun County’s Visiting International Faculty Program.
"This is the first year the program is working with Denmark," she said.
Dehnbostdl received an e-mail about the program from a faculty member at her previous school in Denmark. "My husband and I decided it was a good opportunity," she said. After an 18-month application process, the Dehnbostdls were contacted for a final interview. They were hired in May. Dehnbostdl is a teacher at Mercer Middle School and Mount Ridge High School and teaches. Her husband teaches at Potomac Falls High School. The Dehnbostdls have one son, Jacques, a 15-year-old student at Potomac Falls High School. "Everyday we share our culture," Dehnbostdl said. "I share it in my classroom. The kids always say I do little things differently. Everybody learns."
AS NEW SCHOOLS are being built, teachers from across the country and around the globe are moving to Loudoun County. The majority of new hires came from Virginia. The Department of Personnel Services also recruited teachers from states like California, Hawaii, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina and Wisconsin. In addition, personnel services recruited 11 teachers from the Philippines, two teachers from Canada, two teachers from Puerto Rico and one teacher from England.
Visiting International Faculty Program brought 72 teachers to the area this year, compared to 50 teachers in 2004. Acting director of personnel services, Paul Webb, said he was proud of the number of countries represented in Loudoun County public schools.
"We have teachers from A to Z," Webb said. Countries represented include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Venezuela and Zambia.
"They [Loudoun County Public Schools] do so much for students," Dehnbostdl said.
LOUDOUN COUNTY TEACHERS bring culture and diversity to the classroom, but they are not satisfied. The school system had a difficulty recruiting teachers from some states like Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Arkansas. School Board member Sarah Smith (Leesburg) is concerned.
"I hope this does not mean we are going to stop recruiting there."
Webb said the lack of representation from these areas is because of a lack of desire to relocate.
"Most people do not want to relocate more than a day’s drive away," he said.
However, the Department of Personnel Services and the public-school system are working to make Loudoun County an attractive location to work and live.