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Texas teacher retirements and resignations have spiked in 2022, creating a 'crisis' for districts and students alike

WFAA obtained records from districts that shows how resignations and retirements rose more than 50% in large districts -- and even higher in smaller ones.

William Joy (WFAA)

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Published: 7:16 PM CDT August 18, 2022
Updated: 7:37 PM CDT August 18, 2022

The walls of Dr. Selena Smith’s home office are decorated with awards for service from her years of teaching in Dallas ISD. A sign on her desk reads "inspire."

"My parents are both educators, my aunts are all educators," Smith said. "I'm an educator to my core. I'm a teacher to my core."

Smith worked for Dallas ISD for 16 years, and as a teacher at Frank Guzick Elementary School for 11 of those years.

"Not only were the kids my family, but my coworkers and my colleagues were also my family -- so it was wonderful," she said.

But this year, while feeling frustrated that she wasn’t being heard from district leaders on how to help students in the face of learning loss, she quit.

"It’s a hard job, but it’s also a heart job," Smith said. "So, whenever I felt like the heart of the job was broken, then I felt like it was time for me to leave. When I’m overworked, when I’m undervalued, it was like I have to figure out a way to make an impact -- and inside the system is not working."

Smith is far from alone in that sentiment. Rather, her experience fits neatly within a nationwide trend that’s hit Texas especially hard, and in the process, created a crisis in schools.

Steven Poole saw it coming. 

Poole leads the United Educators Association, which represents teachers in 43 districts across North Texas.

"We’re seeing more people leaving the profession this year than any other year," he said. "They’re burned out, and that is something that school districts and the state are going to have to address. They are just absolutely burned out."

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