Ann Marie Corgill, Alabama’s 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year — and a finalist for 2015 Teacher of the Year — is quitting. Why?
According to AL.com, the state Department of Education told her she didn’t have the qualifications to teach the fifth grade. The department said it didn’t ask her to resign. Her resignation letter (see below) said in part:
“After 21 years of teaching in grades 1-6, I have no answers as to why this is a problem now, so instead of paying more fees, taking more tests and proving once again that I am qualified to teach, I am resigning.”
Corgill teaches at Oliver Elementary School in the Birmingham school district. She started the year teaching second grade but was then moved to take over a fifth-grade class. She has Class A and B certifications to teach primary school through third grade, according to her resignation letter and National Board Certification to teach children ages 7 to 12. Corgill said in the resignation letter that a department official told her that National Board Certification does not substitute for state certification, and she is, therefore, not qualified to teach fifth grade.
According to the Associated Press, the state department issued a release on Thursday that said it had not determined that Corgill was unqualified. It said, “However, when an inquiry was made, the department reported that her current teaching certificate covers primary grades through Grade 3. This does not carry with it a requirement for resignation.”
Corgill decided to resign anyway. Here’s a copy of the letter:
Corgill isn’t the first high-achieving teacher to resign this year. Stacie Starr, a ninth-grade intervention specialist in Elyria City Schools in Ohio, who was selected as “Top Teacher” last year in a national search by the popular television show “Live with Kelly and Michael,” said earlier this year she was quitting. Why? Teachers, she said, can no longer be creative because they have to teach to standardized tests so much. It’s all about “drill and kill,” and even the most creative teachers, she said, are being affected.