A teacher is one of our most important professions, and unfortunately, it's one we don't have enough of in South Carolina. The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) held the South Carolina teacher expo on Friday looking to help fill in the gap.

"We have public school districts from across the state who are here today trying to find high quality candidates to fill vacancies in their school districts," said Todd Scholl with CERRA.

Scholl says that 6500 teachers did not return to the classroom in South Carolina last year and that only 1900 students graduated from teacher education programs.

"Both of those numbers have been going in the wrong direction for the past couple of years," Scholl said.

But that leaves plenty of room for new teachers, like Tracey Washburn.

"This'll be my first year teaching and I'm really excited about it," Washburn said.

Washburn just graduated from college and is looking for jobs in the Midlands.

"I've visited all the Lexington and Richland booths and Orangeburg," Washburn listed.

Washburn says she's looking to make her first time teaching job the place to stay.

"I would like to find a district someplace where I can be at home and feel like a community and family base," Washburn said.

That is vital to the districts, we're told there are still over 500 vacancies in the Midlands for the 2017 school year.

"The quality of an education is largely determined by the person who's leading that classroom," Scholl said. "These districts know that. The goal for this is to fill every classroom that they can with an outstanding teacher."

There were recruiters from 53 districts and about 500 applicants at the expo today.