Teacher of the Year Laid Off: The Sequel

By Liana Loewus — April 27, 2009 1 min read
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While New Hampshire Teacher of the Year candidate Christina Hamilton may have dodged layoffs (despite a very close call), the Teacher of the Year award recipient at a California high school is not likely to be as lucky, according to the Orange County Register.

The 56-year-old veteran English teacher Phil Hohensee, known for his engaging yet tough teaching style, was beckoned out of his 45-day-old retirement in 2007 to rejoin the staff at Cypress High School in Anaheim, Calif. “The guy is just a phenomenal teacher,” said Cypress High principal Ben Carpenter. “He teaches from bell to bell.”

“He’ll push you until you get it,” senior Chelsey Crofts said. “He was my favorite teacher right off the bat.” Heeding his call to “Work first. Play, maybe!” Hohensee’s students consistently scored among the highest in the school on standardized tests, Carpenter reported.

The school’s Parent-Teacher-Association awarded Hohensee the Teacher of the Year honor last week, after weighing votes from students. Yet having returned to the school two years prior, Hohensee was targeted in layoffs affecting teachers who’d been in the district for fewer than three years.

The students and staff at Cypress Hill agree that letting go of the renowned teacher would be a mistake, but Hohensee is looking for the bright side of his impending dismissal. “It makes leaving a little easier,” he noted.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.