25 percent of Cheatham County teachers have resigned - WKRN News 2

25 percent of Cheatham County teachers have resigned

Posted: Updated: May 31, 2013 05:18 PM

Figures compiled from the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) show that about 25 percent of the teachers in Cheatham County have resigned during the past year.

A statement from the TEA indicates that "a total of 93 professional employees have left the Cheatham County District" in a system where there are 379 teachers.

The Cheatham County Board of Education agenda for June 3 lists the resignations of 27 employees district wide, many just in the last month.

A source told Nashville's News 2 that at Cheatham County High School, 18 of 36 teaching positions are vacant.

Few resignations among professional employees raised more eyebrows than those of football coach and teacher Cody Finley, as well as basketball coach and teacher Chris Dawson.

Both resigned earlier in the year after each had the best year ever for Cheatham County High School in their respective sport.

"There's rule by fear here," Dawson said. "They seem to want everyone to walk around on egg shells in constant fear of losing their job."

As an example, Dawson added that he was "quite vocal" about his English class not getting books until this past November, and soon after "he was a target."

He cited things like a class observation scheduled late in the same day when his basketball team was playing a game to get into the state tournament.

"When you start feeling that pressure and stress, it trickles down to the kids," added the former teacher. "Its not a healthy work environment for teachers, and not a healthy work environment for kids either."

Dawson has not actively pursued another job in education, while Finley has accepted a position as football coach and teacher in nearby Stewart County.

Cheatham County Schools Director Dr. Stan Curtis told Nashville's News 2 in a statement, "Teachers need to enjoy their profession. If they choose to resign, we hope they find a place of employment where they can be fulfilled."

A group of Cheatham County parents said they are going to ask about the teacher resignations at Monday's school board meeting.

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