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70 teachers reassigned to different schools in Omaha Public Schools, leaving some unhappy

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 19:21:56-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Amanda Leet was a reading teacher at Bryan High School in the Freshman Academy. But this summer, she got an unexpected call telling her she'd been reassigned to McMillan Middle School.

"I had no clue this was coming, I've had no input on the process, for me it's not about the decision. I understand the decision, we have to make things equitable across the district, but for me, teachers needed to be involved in that process far before this happened," Leet said.

A union representative says that's how teachers got notified of their reassignments—a "cold call" from Human Resources. In an email, Michelle Settlemeyer, the newly elected President of the Omaha Education Association says the "process in which teachers are selected to transfer is of great concern and it has not been shared with the teachers in any way, shape or form." Their hope is to work with the district to develop a flow chart or procedures to determine how teachers are selected for reassignment.

"You build not only these relationships within the school but you build relationships with those families that you served year after year after year. To move and just be uprooted and not have a choice of where you're going—I think would be really difficult," Omaha Education Association's Vice President of Advocacy Kathy Poehling said.

3 News Now asked to talk to Omaha Public Schools but they sent a statement to 3 News Now that says "some reassignments are necessary to meet student needs school by school," and "many had a choice on their updated assignment."

Poehling says some teachers are getting assigned new grade levels and subjects so they'll have just weeks to create their lesson plans.

"There have been high school teachers, maybe math is what their specialty is, now they're gonna be teaching math and social studies, for example," Poehling said.

Poehling insists the district could've found better ways to make the process better for everyone.

"Give a teacher an option, like maybe 3 choices, here are 3 places with a high need, which one would you be willing to take?" Poehling said.

Instead, some like Leet have resigned from the district, leaving after 14 years of teaching.

"Just saying goodbyes all these relationships with kids, my colleagues, knowing they are still in this situation where they're being silenced and they can't fight for their rights, it's hard," said Leet.

Omaha Public Schools says they have 230 unfilled positions to start the year.

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