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The top reason teachers are leaving Hanover County Public Schools is because of retirement, according to the human resources department.
Last year, 33 teachers retired and 27 instructors left due to the second most common cause, “personal” reasons.
“A lot of time, it’s not ‘I’m unhappy here,’” said Joni Shelton, director of human resources.
Shelton said that though “personal” can have many meanings, often, instructors resigned to “be closer to home” because they may commute.
Teachers also may resign if they recently bought a new home or for “family reasons,” Shelton added.
Teachers also left for jobs in other divisions. Seventeen teachers left the Hanover school division this year to work in other Virginia school divisions. Eleven instructors left the county to work in metro Richmond schools.
Hanover schools had to fill 28 administrative positions ranging from assistant principals to instruction specialists, some of which were hired internally. Nine employees were hired as assistant principals for the current school year and five “senior teacher” positions, according to data presented by human resources staff during an Oct. 8 School Board meeting.
The school division’s appointment numbers declined significantly after the 2009-2010 school year reaching as low as only 43 newly hired teachers in 2010. However, this year 108 teachers were appointed.
“We may not necessarily replace every teacher that resigns,” said Shelton. “We want to make sure the need is there.”
Shelton added that student population determines the “need.”
Student enrollment cannot be accurately recorded until August. Shelton said families would wait until after vacation-heavy months like June and July to register their children.
Hanover schools have lost between 600 and 700 students in the last five years, said David Myers, assistant superintendent of business and operations.
“We anticipated losing more students in the current year than we had,” Myers said. “We hope this is a trend, a turn.”
As of Sept. 30, Hanover schools’ enrollment was down 67 students from last fall’s 17,942-student population.
The demographic that the division is hiring is also changing.
Data from the human resources department show the school system is hiring fewer teachers under the age of 30.
Competition with other school divisions has also played a part in the board’s conversations about teacher attrition.
According to data received from the school division, Hanover schools consistently hired a small number of teachers from Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond and other divisions such as Fairfax and King William.
This year the division hired four teachers from Chesterfield, five from Henrico and three from Richmond City schools. In the past three years, the numbers have been similar with one exception in the 2011-2012 school year when 13 educators were hired from the Henrico school division.
“We will continue to inquire to each of our departures and as to why they’re leaving,” said Chairman Robert L. Hundley Jr., Chickahominy representative.
The past year, the schools have not performed exit interviews, but Hundley said it depends on each person’s definition of “exit interview,” because the division has always asked teachers about their departures.
Based on the data in Shelton’s presentation, Hundley said there are not any “alarming” numbers. He added that, in terms of teacher attrition, this year’s numbers are not “out of line” with the previous school year’s figures.