Changes in the WSFCS district


Katie Mohr and Lia Blackard, Staff Writers

Traditionally, teaching has always been a stable and reliable job. But what happens when teachers are forced to leave their jobs because of low wages or problems in the district? What happens when there are not enough teachers to meet the needs of students? 

This year Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WSFCS) has been facing the issue of numerous teacher vacancies. WSFCS board members and administrators are working hard to come up with creative and effective solutions for teacher vacancies. However, their solution has not allowed workers and teachers any choice in the matter.

As a way to try and solve the problem, at the beginning of year and second semester, 17 people who worked at Central Office were removed from their positions and placed in different schools in Forsyth County to fill teacher positions. They were moved on short notice, no say on which school, and had no choice in what grade level. Despite central office employees being more than qualified to fill the positions, the experience is stressful and disrupting. Mr. Yale, a former employee at Central Office, was subject to this redistribution and was placed at RJ Reynolds High School.

Before his time at Central Office, Mr. Yale was a teacher for ten years. He spent half of that time in Tennessee and the other half in Orange County, North Carolina. He came to the Winston-Salem area because he wanted to try something new. 

“I taught for those ten years and then I decided I wanted to try something different.” Yale said. “We wanted to move to this area, I started looking for jobs and a technology coaching job became open.”  

Yale worked as a technology coach at Central Office for two years. He went around the county to different schools everyday and taught teachers how to use Powerschool Learning, Schoolnet and other technological resources. One thing he liked about the job was how it kept him on his toes and everyday was different.

“I like the challenge of not knowing what someone is going to need the next day,” Yale said. “Here I’ll teach the same thing three times and I plan out what I’m gonna teach, but when I go to Wiley Middle School they might need help with something, and the next day I go to Reagan and I won’t know what they need so there’s a challenge there.”

Along with all the other workers who were moved from Central Office, Yale did not have a choice.

There are many challenges with being forced to give up something you love. Although he misses coaching and would like to go back, Yale has found ways to enjoy his new job.

“I think what I am doing here is really valuable and I really like working with the teachers here, like Mr. Biles and Ms. Meinberg.” Yale said.

While these coaches are working in schools, no one is filling their positions and there is no current plan to fill those empty positions. These workers are considered the best of the best, which is why they were chosen to fill the teacher vacancies.

Brent Campbell, Chief Marketing and Communications director for WSFCS, explained that there may be hope for the teachers to return to their positions at Central Office. 

Depending on recruitment efforts for new teachers and depending on the state and local budget approvals, they may be able move back to roles as coaches.” Campbell said.

According to Campbell, teacher shortages are not a new problem.

Due to retirements, people leaving teaching for other professions, a shortage of education graduates and people making the choice to go into a field that pays more, we have consistently run with about 20 to 40 open teaching positions in our district at any one time.” Campbell said.

Fortunately, the ¼ cent sales tax may be an incentive for new teachers to apply for jobs in Forsyth County. If more teachers begin working in the Forsyth County School District, it will solve the vacancy problem returning stability to the profession.