Last week, New Hampshire 8th grade teacher Christina Hamilton was nominated for state Teacher of the Year. Unfortunately, she was also laid off by her school.
Hamilton was notified on April 10th that her position, along with six others at Hampton Academy, would be eliminated due to the school’s proposed change from the middle school to junior high model, reports Seacoastonline.com. On Monday, she was one of 35 nominees honored at a Teacher of the Year ceremony held by the New Hampshire Department of Education.
Hamilton was actually not on the initial list of cuts at Hampton. However, after further review, the school board voted to rehire another teacher who had been in the district longer and informed Hamilton she would be dismissed.
"[The initial layoff choice] was an oversight by the decision makers,” said Kevin Fleming, chairman of the teachers’ union. “Even though [Hamilton] is recognized as a candidate for Teacher of the Year, they have to go on seniority.”
“I think the mistake underscores and highlights how hastily the decisions were made,” remarked the president of the teachers’ union, Andy Gushee.
The union plans to challenge Hamilton’s layoff and several others, claiming that the district cannot justify the need for a reduction in force. School officials declined to comment, according to Seacoastonline.
Meanwhile, Hamilton is still in the running for the 2010 Teacher of the Year.
4/24/09 UPDATE: Following protests from hundreds of parents and teachers, the school board voted to recall the layoffs of five teachers at Hampton Academy, including Christina Hamilton, reports Seacoastonline.com.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.