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NEWS RELEASES 2005-06 :: OCTOBER 5, 2005


North Carolina's local school systems reported an average teacher turnover rate of 12.95 percent for 2004-05, a slight increase from the 2003-04 turnover rate of 12.37 percent. North Carolina's teacher turnover rate is still less than the 15.7 percent reported in national data for all teachers in the United States.

"Although our turnover rate increased, it's important to note that the reason teachers most often cited for leaving was to teach elsewhere (20.16 percent) – and in over three-fourths of these cases, the leaving teacher was planning to teach in another North Carolina school system," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "Although we are thankful that these teachers are staying in North Carolina public schools, we know the burden it places on those school systems that have worked so hard in recruitment."

Local district turnover rates, in fact, ranged from a high of 28.51 percent in Harnett County to a low of 3.96 percent in Clay County. (Local district figures are available on the NCDPI Web site at by clicking on the Quality Teachers, Administrators and Staff link then scrolling to QP8.)

Retirement was listed as the second most cited reason for leaving the classroom at 16.39 percent or 2,032 teachers. In almost 90 percent of these cases, the retiring teachers were retiring with full benefits. In third was resignation due to family relocation (14.47 percent or 1,794 teachers) followed by resignation for other reasons or unknown reasons (12.28 percent or 1,523 teachers). Rounding out the top five reasons for leaving was teachers who resigned for family responsibility/child care at 6.60 percent or 818 teachers.

Turnover rates varied statewide even among districts with similar characteristics, such as size or the districts' rural or urban nature. Generally, the western counties posted the lowest turnover rates, while the southeastern counties posted higher turnover rates, but other general trends are difficult to identify.

State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee said that the range of numbers shows the importance of North Carolina's efforts to recruit and retain teachers. "We need to recruit over 10,000 teachers each year to meet the staffing needs of our public school classrooms. To do this, substantial changes need to be made in such areas as teacher working conditions, teacher compensation and beginning teacher support programs."

The State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction, supported by the General Assembly, already have a number of initiatives in place to help recruit and retain teachers:

  • alternative entry licensure routes;
  • a state recruitment and retention center;
  • a three-year induction program and paid mentors for new teachers;
  • regional licensure centers to help lateral entry teachers;
  • overall salary increases;
  • 12 percent pay increases for teachers with National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification;
  • 10 percent pay increases for teachers with master's degrees;
  • special recognition and awards programs, such as N.C. Teacher of the Year;
  • teacher scholarship loans; and
  • Future Teachers of America/Teacher Cadet programs, to encourage students to consider a teaching career.

For more information on recruitment and retention initiatives, please contact the NCDPI Communication's Division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.