Some NC teachers leaving state for higher salaries in Texas

Ad for North Carolina teachers

RALEIGH, N.C. — The last day of school for some North Carolina students will also be the final day for some of their teachers, according to WTVD-TV.

The school system in Houston, Texas poached a number of teachers at a job fair in May, including Northern Nash High School math teacher Jamie Kendall.

After years of teaching in North Carolina schools, living on a $30,000 salary, and struggling to make ends meet, she’s moving on.

“People go, why would you move to Texas?” said Kendall. “I have 17,000 reasons plus many more to go.”

Her frustration led her to the job fair hosted by the Houston Independent Schools District.

Kendall was offered a contract and promised a starting salary of $47,000.

“It’s not just about the money. It’s about the opportunity. I’ll actually be able to go back and get my master’s. And from what I see with their no excuses policy, they respect teachers and value education,” said Kendall.

Kendall says the district sold her on a motto of quality school leadership and high standards with a “no excuses” approach.

Jennalee Kwezi already has her master’s degree, but in North Carolina, she doesn’t get paid extra for it anymore.

“We had a cost of living bonus this year that was about $300 and, after taxes, it might have been around $190. It was just kind of a slap in the face. It was kind of like, okay, what am I going to do with $190? That’s not even equivalent to one of my student loan payments,” said Kwezi.

The Onslow County school teacher picked up a tutoring job on the side to support her income, but it wasn’t enough. Now, she too, is packing her bags for Texas.

“Houston just won out because I don’t want to work two jobs anymore. I want to focus on my classroom,” said Kwezi.

The debate over teacher pay in North Carolina is reaching a boiling point as lawmakers debate how to compensate them, but some teachers like Kendall aren’t sticking around to find out what happens next.

“I’m going to the 4th of July celebration in Northampton County just to say goodbye to my kids because I love them that much, but it’s just time for a change,” said Kendall.

At least 30 teachers were offered jobs during the Raleigh job fair.

It’s the second time the Houston school district recruited in North Carolina.

This spring they put on an event at UNC-Chapel Hill.

14 comments

  • Teacher Preacher

    Good for them!! Teachers deserve more money, especially putting up with the unruly kids in todays society!!!

  • sinner 3

    All the teachers we are shown protesting and only maybe (30) where even offered a contract ? Shows the quality of the thousands of disgruntled educators we have in N.C.

  • FaithC

    NC will lose all the good teachers. I bet the 30 that were offered contracts were 30 of the best. What does that leave our kids with, the dregs.
    You can’t blame the teachers. They went to school, got an education and took a job that is not easy. Now they will be getting paid a decent wage in TX.

  • Doc Bennett

    If they were so good why couldn’t they do a little math and look at the cost of living down there and the crime rate. Guess you can’t teach common sense. Good riddance

    • Dale Fifield

      Doc Bennett………………try being a teacher, working for peanuts, spending your own $ for class room supplies and putting up with some disrespectful kids. North Carolina children lose out when teachers are treated as they are in NC.
      Check out how much a teacher makes in Johnston County NC and if you have any brain at all you might start to understand the problem here.

    • Cheryl Kimber

      Perhaps you should research before you assume others don’t. I have family living in Houston and have noticed basic cost of living is much cheaper there. When they came for a visit, they were shocked at our gas and grocery prices along with housing in NC.

  • dobydog1

    these teachers are in for some surprises. the Houston area is an expensive place to live. It is also a very hot place in the summer. the summer I was there 105 ro 115 degrees were not uncommon highs. It is also very humid. By the way also watch out when it rains because an inch of rain will cause flash flooding. be careful to watch out for the fire ants and the gators But on the good side you do make more money and have NO STATE INCOME TAX..

    • NobodyAtAll

      Nor does Texas have annual personal property tax on your vehicles or food tax (except on prepared food).

    • Michael Perrin

      Actually, the average temps in Houston are only 3 degrees higher than in North Carolina. There’s a pleasant shower nearly daily, nowhere near an inch, and in 3 years of living in Houston, never saw flooding.

      Now come out west to Odessa, where we’re 2 degrees hotter than Houston, but a quarter inch of rain causes flooding!

  • Truth Teller

    When we get rid of the Tenure Trap like Texas did they will be able to be paid for their worth. That is what NC needs to pay teachers for their contribution. Not every teacher deserves a raise. Most will be able to get the raise when they quit subsidizing the few bad eggs.

  • Robin Goodman

    So sad to read the derogatory comments posted here. Bet you have not tried this profession, it’s certainly not all roses and sunshine. Teachers only want to be fairly compensated for doing their job, just like any other professional.

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