At least 36 Leon County Schools teachers have resigned since August

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Tallahassee Democrat | by Casey Chapter | September 21, 2020

Since before students returned to Leon County Schools on Aug. 31, 36 teachers resigned their positions, according to school district spokesman Chris Petley. 

All the resignations happened in August, Petley said last week, noting the district does not know teachers’ reasons for resigning.

At a Sept. 8 School Board meeting, the first since classrooms reopened, Leon Classroom Teachers Association (LCTA) President Scott Mazur told board members that teachers had started resigning from their positions within the first week back. LCTA is Leon County’s teachers’ union.

Scott Mazur is president of the Leon County Teachers Association.

Scott Mazur is president of the Leon County Teachers Association. Democrat files.

Mazur told board members teachers had begun putting in their two-week notices on Friday of the first week of students being back. 

“There is a lot of good work that’s being done,” he told the board, but added that communication from the district has been haphazard and pressures are too high. 

Non-reappointments

Separate from resignations, the Leon County school district has 24 teaching positions open following a teacher transfer season that initially left 58 positions unfilled.

Out of the 58 original non-reappointments, 31 teachers were rehired elsewhere in the district, according to district officials. As of Wednesday, the district reports that 24 positions are still open.

Teachers undergo annual evaluations by their school’s principal, where they are either reappointed or not reappointed to their position.

Brett Shively, director of human resources at the district, said non-reappointments are based on a number of factors — such as the number of students enrolled in each grade level or the required number of classes at the school, which may mean the district needs to shuffle teachers around based on school needs. 

Assistant Superintendent Deana McAllister added that teachers also may transfer schools if they are looking for a different work environment, or a host of other reasons. 

“It’s just part of the normal jostling… that takes place during this time of year to ensure that we’re staffed appropriately,” Shively said. Of about 2,400 teachers across the county, an estimated 1% are not reappointed each year, McAllister said. 

Jennifer Crews, a teacher at Sealey Elementary School, hands out meals to families at W.T. Moore Elementary as Leon County Schools provides foods for students' families Monday, March 23, 2020.

Jennifer Crews, a teacher at Sealey Elementary Schools, hands out food to families at W.T. Moore Elementary as Leon County Schools provides food for students’ families. Monday, March 23, 2020. Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat

This year’s teacher transfer day was hosted online because of COVID-19. 

Shively said the district is still looking to fill open positions. Those who want to view or apply for open positions at Leon County Schools can visit the district’s application website at pats.leon.k12.fl.us.

The district’s human resources department can only track resignations by month, Petley said on Wednesday. Come later September, Petley said he would be able to answer how many teachers may have resigned in the first month of schools reopening.

Featured image: Leon County School Teachers gathered at the Aquilina Howell Center for a caravan protest against the reopening of brick-and-mortar schools amid the coronavirus pandemic on August 4, 2020. Casey Chapter, Tallahassee Democrat