Wake Ed

July 8, 2014

Wake County teacher’s resignation sparks Twitter frenzy

The resignation of Jenny Callahan, who was her Raleigh school’s Teacher of the Year, provoked initial confusion on Twitter that the Wake County Teacher of the Year had resigned.

A Wake County Teacher of the Year has resigned, just not the Wake County Teacher of the Year.

Twitter has been lighting up since Monday with tweets about the “ Wake County Teacher of Year 2014 moving to Ohio,” with Jenny Callahan saying that low pay is forcing her to leave the state. It’s been picked up by Democrats to accuse state Republican legislators, who are fighting over a plan how to raise teacher pay, of not doing enough to keep teachers from leaving North Carolina.

Callahan isn’t the district’s Teacher of the Year. But she was the Teacher of the Year for Partnership Elementary School in Raleigh. Each Wake school nominates a teacher for the districtwide program.

What started the whole thing is that Liisa Ogburn of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University has been collecting and posting on her Facebook page the stories of North Carolina teachers who have resigned.

Callahan, a fourth-grade teacher at Partnership Elementary, told Ogburn she’s leaving because “over half my paycheck goes to daycare. There are no raises. We can’t afford to have a second child.”

Callahan, who has been a teacher for nine years and has certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, had an annual salary of $42,446, according to the Wake County school system.

Callahan says “we are moving back to Ohio, which pays more, so I don’t have to give up my career.”

“I would love to put my son into the school where I was teaching, but North Carolina has ruined that for us,” Callahan writes. “It is with a heavy heart that we are leaving.”

According to Wake school officials, Callahan submitted her resignation on May 22 with the effective date of June 30. She started in Wake in August 2007 as a teacher at York Elementary School in Raleigh before transferring to Partnership in July 2008.

The initial tweet from Democratic activist Greg Flynn about Callahan resigning was retweeted 114 times, including by the N.C. Association fo Educators.

The initial tweet calling Callahan “Wake County Teacher of the Year 2014” stemmed from how she had filled out the sheet she sent to Ogburn. Republican and conservative activists fired back saying Callahan wasn’t the Teacher of the Year, resulting in Flynn posting a revised tweet today.

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