Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving Reporter
The Irving Independent School District has 345 new teachers this year, they spent Monday getting ready for class with a back-to-school luncheon.
The Irving school district has hired hundreds of new teachers this year.
The Irving Independent School District, the city's second biggest employer, added more than 400 new employees this year after last year's cuts and layoffs. The district has 4,200 employees, 2,500 of them teachers.
"I think it means that economic downturn really has impacted our city and things are turning around," said JoAnn Goin, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce board chairwoman.
The Chamber of Commerce hosted a back-to-school luncheon for the 345 new teachers on Monday.
Superintendent Dana Bedden said a lot has changed for the better during the past year.
"Remember, last year, we had a huge recession," he said. "We were laying off about 300 staff last year. We were able to hire about 72 percent of those back who wanted to come back."
The district hired more than three times as many teachers as it did last year.
Bedden also said his school district is one of the top paid districts for starting-teacher salaries. He also said it received about 5,000 applications for the teaching spots.
Some of the new teachers, such as Irene Macias, are fresh out of college.
"[I'm] pretty overwhelmed, but I'm really excited," she said. "I have a really great team to look forward to, and I have a really great classroom and already have it set up."
Others are coming from another district. Many, such as Trent Nickerson, are from Irving and say they're grateful to be back.
"I went to MacArthur High School, and my favorite teacher taught U.S. history, so I get to teach it now," he said. "I get to have fun with my students."