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'It's not unusual': Educators & Killeen ISD react to winter teacher resignations

Posted at 10:30 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 11:12:12-05

The nationwide teacher shortage continues to be a growing problem for school districts across the country. Over the winter break in Killeen ISD, several teachers have resigned.

The Killeen Educators Association President Rachel Bourrage called this a "mass exodus" of educators leaving the profession.

The district said about 57 educators won't be returning in 2022. This includes teachers who have retired and others who have resigned.

Taina Maya, KISD Chief Communication and Marketing Officer said, "We do typically see this number of people leaving this time of year, it's nothing that's alarming for us."

While hearing 57 teachers resigning may be alarming to some, Maya explains this is something they saw coming. 

"A lot of our employees gave us ample notice ahead of time. So, we have been planning, hiring, and sometimes even having that new teacher work within those last few weeks," said Maya. "A lot of these people have actually given their notice much earlier. So, we've been hiring for those positions to make sure there's a continuous stream of information in the child's classroom to those students."

This round of resignations was not surprising for educators either. For 11 years, Jennifer Lee has graded paper, after paper, and then some but a lot has changed since 2010.

Lee, also a member of the Killeen Educators Association said, "I think educators have been blown so many different blows over the past I would say about 5 to 6 years. If you don’t want to respect us if you don’t want to make this job, be as desirable as I used to be then we can all leave."

Lee said the shift in education laws, health concerns, the workload, and constant criticism have pushed people away.

"We’re human beings were highly educated human beings and we’ve kind of reached a point where we decided enough is enough. People are all talking about their exit plan people want to get out of the ship that’s going down," said Lee.

Tam Jones Associate Professor of Education at A&M Central Texas said, "You're going to be seeing this across the state. This isn't just a KISD issue."

As a former Education Administrator for years in North Texas, Jones said ed-of-the-year resignations are common, especially in a military town. He explained school districts often see this twice a year.

"It happens customarily, at the end of the school year, and then it's mid-term because the way teacher contracts are structured," Jones said. "I wouldn't describe it as a mass exodus. It happens every year in January, it happens. It happens with teacher contracts and so, it's not unusual."

Maya said that the district is still playing catch-up from their summer hiring goals they did not meet.

"We've been fighting the entire year, continuously hiring though. With our new retention recruitment incentive that's really made us an attractive district," Maya said. "We understand that some people are leaving the profession, but there are a lot of people also joining the profession, and I don't want to lose sight of that as well."

The district is hoping to hire some of those new teachers coming into the profession with two job fairs in the first week of 2022. One on Jan. 4 and another on Jan. 5.

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