Defense Department school officials have resumed hiring teachers, school nurses, principals and some other personnel deemed critical to their mission of educating military children after receiving some exemptions March 10 from the federal civilian hiring freeze.

On Monday, they also received approval to hire a number of personnel to fill vacancies for above-school-level operations and support, said Elaine Kanellis, spokeswoman for the Department of Defense Education Activity. School officials haven't seen any "unusual trends" in teacher vacancy rates since the freeze began Jan 23, Kanellis said.  

However, "the March/April time frame is a critical window for us to fill teacher vacancies that we know will exist for the start of the next school year," she added. "The exemption will allow us to start hiring teachers for next school year."

The activity's human resources department resumed recruitment and hiring actions for teachers this week, she said.

DoDEA's priority request for filling vacancies was for all educators and select staffers who work in the schools — classroom teachers, special education teachers, substitute teachers, principals, assistant principals, psychologists, school nurses and educational aides.

At the headquarters and district levels, officials have received approval to hire instructional systems specialists, research specialists and program analysts.

DoDEA was not exempt from the hiring freeze under initial DoD guidance issued Feb. 1, about a week after President Trump's executive order initiated the freeze. Neither were commissaries or exchanges, or morale, welfare and recreation programs and services; agencies responsible for those entities have requested exemptions, and some locations have already cut back hours because of staffing shortages.

Commissaries, exchanges and the federal hiring freeze

The federal civilian hiring freeze enacted by President Trump will have staffing consequences at military commissaries and exchanges, which could lead to shorter hours and temporary closures.

Some parents have expressed concern in particular about the impact on DoDEA's ability to hire substitute teachers. 

Karen Jowers writes about military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. She can be reached at