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Large number of teachers expected to leave Omaha Public Schools

Finding and keeping teachers, it's a problem across the country and right here in Omaha.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The nationwide teacher shortage is hitting home at a whole new level.

Educators say many teachers are expected to leave Omaha Public Schools this year, including dozens from Central High School.

As a teacher, Robert Miller knows firsthand the influence they can have on kids. He says one of his early teachers inspired him to choose the same profession.

“My 4th-grade teacher made a big impact in my life,” Miller said.

Now, as President of the Omaha Educators Association, Miller hopes to impact children from behind the scenes. Miller said it is a challenging job that’s about to become even harder.

According to Miller, more than 300 teachers are expected to leave Omaha Public Schools this year, compared to 200 teachers in a typical year.

A report from journalism student Jane McGill uncovered that at the end of this year, 37 teachers plan to leave Central High School. Miller said he has never seen anything like it.

“Such a mass exodus of teachers. No. It’s huge. That’s huge coming from one building.”

Shelly Chavez’s daughter is a senior at Central High School.

“It’s awful,” Chavez said. “It’s awful for the kids.”

Chavez is a teacher herself and said many teachers are burnt out.

“It’s been a long time coming. With the extra pressure on them, some teachers have to be security guards even. Some teachers were teaching French and now they’re teaching Spanish, which they’re not licensed to do that.”

Miller says fewer college students are wanting to become teachers, so it will be difficult to replace those who are leaving.

Omaha Public Schools says in part, staffing challenges facing education are not unique to Central High. As one of the largest high schools in the state, the overall percentage of staff departures from Central is likely comparable to other schools in Omaha.

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