Surry Co. Secret To Retaining Teachers For Less Money

6:07 PM, Dec 24, 2013   |    comments
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Threats WBBM-TV reports a Lake Station, Ind. high school teacher admits leaving are seen on blackboard. Teacher has been removed from class pending results of investigation. Courtesy WBBM-TV.

SURRY COUNTY, N.C. -- Surry County has the best teacher retention rate in North Carolina. Last year only 41 teachers left. That's compared to the state's average of more than 14 percent.

But their loyalty-- isn't costing taxpayers any more money than other counties. In Surry County a teacher with a decade of experience would make $36,958. Compared to the statewide average of $39,278.

2 Wants To Know went to Surry County to find out what is their low-cost secret for retaining teachers and what's the lesson other counties can learn from them.

Surry County Schools use a lot of the same retention tactics as other districts like teacher support groups.  So what's unique? "It's all about relationships when you really take all of the other pieces out," Superintendent Travis Reeves said. He encourages teachers to live in their school zones - on the same streets as their students.

"You feel so connected to the students and the community and the parents. We are like a family as cliche as it sounds," said Mrs. Martin, a 14-year Surry teaching veteran. We took that "live where you work" idea to the state's Department of Public Instruction. They track retention.

The woman who puts the annual report together says Surry County might be on to something. She wants to research if this tatic could work elsewhere.

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