But growth doesn't entirely account for what Superintendent Lu Young said at Monday's school board work session is likely the largest number of new teachers Jessamine County has ever seen.
"People have moved, and obviously occasionally people don't move, but they get a job at Garrard or Fayette counties," Harden said. "All of the areas just seem to be a bit more (than usual), but nothing stands out as being the thing that's causing this."
It is unclear if the trend in Jessamine is mirrored statewide. Accurate counts of educators joining and leaving the system are difficult to gather, said Lisa Gross, director of communications for the Kentucky Department of Education.
But the state is preparing for the loss of a significant group of teachers - baby boomers headed for retirement.
"Many started teaching 25 to 27 years ago, so we know that they are going to be retiring in the next few years," Gross said. "We are anticipating losing 25 percent of our teachers (to retirement)."
In Kentucky, teachers are eligible to retire with full benefits when they have worked 27 years or are 55 years old. Resulting shortages would most likely affect individual districts, Gross said, and could hit some subject areas and specialties harder than others.
"It's getting a little more difficult to find math teachers and special education teachers, but that's not just a Kentucky problem," she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Education Web site, subject areas facing teacher shortages in Kentucky also include art, language arts, English as a second language, special education, music, social studies and technology.
"Over a long number of years there have been rises and falls of teacher shortages, and even surpluses, but there are always areas that are a bit more difficult to fill positions," Harden said.
In Jessamine County, physics, higher math and special education teachers are tougher to come by, Harden said. There are also fewer teachers willing to work in middle schools, but the task is not impossible.
"Because we are located where we are in central Kentucky, which is an attractive area, we generally have a lot of applicants," he said. The proximity of Asbury College, the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University feeds the district with recent graduates too.
According to the Asbury College Web site, more than 200 Asbury students are education majors, making it the second largest department on campus. The University of Kentucky awarded 622 education degrees in 2006, amounting to more than 11 percent of all degrees earned.
"We do have the seminary (Asbury), and frequently there are spouses of seminarians who are here for three or four years, and that provides some additional person power for us," Harden said.
The state department of education is taking a proactive approach to the impending surge in retirements, looking for alternative ways to certify qualified people as teachers.
"Our goal is to help make the teaching profession more appealing so retirees might decide to stay longer, and to make others want to become teachers," Gross said. "Number one we need to look at the way teachers are paid."
In Kentucky, teachers receive a salary, but rarely get compensation for overtime, working with challenging students or subjects, or placement in disadvantaged school districts. The state is looking into programs to give teachers extra pay for those special circumstances.
"The average teacher salary is low when you compare us with other states," Gross said. "Legislators support it (better pay) to a great degree, but its like everything else - where do you find the money?"
Jessamine County Board of Education members discussed the issue at a work session Monday. Across the country, school districts are trying out teacher incentives, such as providing housing to new employees, board member Eugene Peel said.
Some districts pay teachers with in-demand specialties more than others, as often happens in the private business sector. But that practice is still contentious in Kentucky, Young said.
"You talk to an English teacher who's grading 100 papers a week, and the math teacher is making more money," she said.
Kentucky teachers received a raise this year, but two days were added to the school calendar. Losing teachers to neighboring states isn't much of a problem in central Kentucky, Gross said, but border counties are susceptible.
"You can cross a bridge and make $10 thousand more a year," Gross said. "And who wouldn't do that?"
The Jessamine County Board of Education meets next on Jan. 8 for a work session.