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Oklahoma Teacher of Year announces he is leaving state for higher pay

(Source KFOR) (Source KFOR)

NORMAN, OK (KFOR) – For months, teachers have been asking lawmakers to find a way to fund a pay raise for educators across the state. And, as it looks like teachers will go another year without a pay raise, many are making the decision to leave the state.

Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year in 2016, announced that he has made the decision to leave for Texas to make more money in the classroom:

“At the end of the day, the simple truth is that we can be paid a respectable wage for doing the same job- this job we love very much- by heading out of state. I’m sorry it’s come to this, but I will leave with my head held high. I poured my heart and soul into my teaching at Norman High School. I represented our state at the highest level. I tried to help find funding sources via SQ 779. I ran for state senate. I started a non-profit focused on teacher recruitment and retention that has spread nationwide. I’ve done everything I know how to do to try and make things better. We could stay, but it would cost our family – specifically our sweet baby girl. My wife and I are not willing to do that. We, like you, want what’s best for our children and she deserves to grow up in a state that values education. And so do your children… I hope my and my family’s departure, which is among many this year, makes a statement. We’re voting with our feet on this one.”

Sheehan was among four finalists for the national ‘Teacher of the Year’ honor and behind a campaign to recruit teachers to Oklahoma after he learned about a shortage.

“To talk about a pay raise for four months and then actually have no product at the end, that’s a blow to morale and I think if we’re not actually going to take it seriously, we need to not talk about it at all,” said Sen. J.J. Dossett.

Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz said without a way to pay for the raise, the measures were simply giving teachers “false hope.”

Information provided by KFOR. 

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