A quarter of Arizona’s teachers will be eligible to retire in the next four years, and current teacher shortages tell us our school system is not prepared for this. Now is the time to think out of the box to ensure we have teachers to lead our classrooms.

As superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District and executive director of A for Arizona, we support SB 1208, which would eliminate unnecessary barriers to recruiting high-quality teachers.

One key part of the bill would make it easier to hire certified teachers who come to Arizona from other states. Empowering our highest-performing schools to hire the best candidates, whether traditionally certified or qualified another way, can open the door to individuals with experiences and career paths that have uniquely prepared them to positively influence students.

Every teacher plays a precious role in the life of a child. Great teachers can mean the difference between a student achieving in academics and in life or taking a different path.

Countless studies show the benefits of quality teachers to individual student success in the classroom and beyond, as well as the indirect effects teachers have on communities and the broader economy.

This makes Arizona’s growing teacher shortage and retention challenge all the more concerning. We must use every tool available to keep the best teachers in front of Arizona students.