Local News

Weldon schools lead state in teacher turnovers

Posted January 14, 2009 4:02 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Weldon city schools lost almost half of their teachers last year, according to new teacher turnover statistics.

The school district saw a 41 percent decrease to its 90-teacher school system in Halifax County. Weldon had the highest percentage of teacher turnover in the state. Edgecombe County was second with 26 percent. Wake County saw 11 percent of teachers being replaced.

“To actually hear the numbers, they are alarming,” said Michelle Winstead, a former parent teacher organization president in Weldon.

David Jones, executive director of human resources for the district, said teacher turnover affects the classroom experience for the district’s 1,050 students.

“It changes what goes on in that classroom. It changes the expectations of the students,” Jones said.

Jones said small town school systems like Weldon, which operates independently of Halifax County, have a tough time bringing in teachers, especially those with families because of the lack of activities in the area.

“There are a lot of things that a city such as Charlotte can offer that a Weldon can’t offer,” said Jesse Dingle, the Department of Education's talent manager in charge of recruitment and retention.

School administrators in Weldon say many teachers leave to take jobs in neighboring districts or in Virginia. Officials said they plan to focus on recruiting teachers outside of the state.

Administrators also said they will ask the state to require educators with state teaching fellowships to work in an assigned geographic area.

Halifax County schools saw a turnover of 20 percent from the 2007-2008 school year. Nearby Roanoke Rapids lost about 15 percent.

Statewide 13,432 or nearly 14 percent of teachers left their jobs in 2007-2008. A total of 83,534 educators stayed at their jobs. The percentage lost was an increase from 12 percent the previous year.

State Department of Education statistics show some of the top reasons teachers leave jobs are to teach elsewhere in the state or country, retirement, family relocation and childcare.

Nationally the teacher turnover rate is nearly 17 percent, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.