PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children is an invaluable resource for children in our community.

Its teachers are trained to help visually-impaired students thrive and grow, but soon several of the school’s most experienced teachers will be retiring.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller visited the school Tuesday and explains why leaders are taking a new approach to find replacements.

“Believe it or not, I’m finishing up my 42nd year, which means I started when I was 11.”

Teacher Maura Puglio jokes and laughs, but she’s also sad.

She walked into Western Pa. School for the Blind looking for a job, but found her passion.

She’s one of six highly-trained classroom teachers planning to retire at the end of the year.

“It was when we recognized that we had six teachers that were going to be retiring in the same year and we only have 32 classrooms to fill that, we recognized that there was a huge need,” said Rachelle Rectenwald, Assistant Superintendent, Western PA School for the Blind.

That’s 19 percent of Rectenwald’s staff – gone in just a few months.

For that reason, she said the school’s hosting its first job fair.

The school is looking for special-education teachers who possess “vision certificates” or are interested in training for a vision certificate.

Buses arrive in the morning from 80 school districts, driving from 33 different counties across the state to the Oakland establishment. Twenty-two students live at the school during the week.

The job fair is Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Rectenwald said she’s looking for enthusiastic teachers who want to educate the school’s 200 students each year.

To register for a session, click here.

Meghan Schiller