SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. — As the school year ends, a long-time educator is saying goodbye to the school district she’s called home for the last three decades.
After spending over three decades of helping Shelby County students unlock their potential, Toni Moore’s career is in its final chapter.
With 30 years of service from being a classroom teacher to assistant principal at Marnel C. Moorman School, Moore is planning to retire from her education career this year.
“My love for serving others has just carried out. So, I’m really bittersweet because I’m not sure where the Lord is going to lead me to serve next, but I have so enjoyed for 30 years serving families,” explains Moore.
The mother of five says that working in education was her dream job, and the decision to retire wasn’t easy.
The decades long educator and breast cancer survivor says she could continue to work several more years, but there’s a greater calling that must be answered.
“Knowing that feeling at my father’s age, I don’t want to look back and regret you’ve could’ve retired and traveled with him,” said Moore.
Despite Moore’s decision to leave education, a recent study shows educators are more burned out now than ever before. They’re quitting their jobs because of exhaustion and stress.
“I think a lot of it is they want to be sure they’re being supported and I think through some of our laws, through some of our lawmakers, sometimes they’re not feeling supported,” suggests Moore.
According to the National Education Association, 55% of educators say they are ready to leave the profession for good.
Among some reasons cited were staff shortages, pandemic related stress and low pay.
“It’s very demanding and I think a lot of people miss the people of how much time educators spend trying to make sure that they perfect things for the children they present too,” adds Moore.
On the heels of the Texas school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead, Moore says it has some educators second guessing the profession.
“The worry of safety has caused a lot of extra stress and a sense of I’m responsible for 700 something students safety,” said Moore.
She says some of her fondest memories will be the relationships she established with the students and their parents.
Ultimately, the 53-year-old has this simple message.
“Everyone’s perspective matters. Many of us come from many different backgrounds and it’s very important that listen to each other but that we know how to grow from each other,” said Moore.
When you add resignations and retirements together, 68 teachers and staff are not planning to return to Shelby County Public Schools according to a district spokesperson.
Editor's note: The headline of a previous version of this story said 68 teachers were leaving Shelby County Public Schools. That number actually includes not only teachers, but principals, councelors and staff members.