CARY: While some nc teachers depart, others choose to stay - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

While some NC teachers depart, others choose to stay

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East Cary Middle School teacher Linda Van Gombos talks with WNCN's Justin Quesinberry about her decision to stay as a teacher in North Carolina. East Cary Middle School teacher Linda Van Gombos talks with WNCN's Justin Quesinberry about her decision to stay as a teacher in North Carolina.
CARY, N.C. -

After 20 years in the classroom, Linda Van Gombos, a language arts teacher at East Cary Middle School, continues to keep her focus on her students despite what’s going on with North Carolina teachers in the political spotlight.

"It doesn't really matter what the state is doing when I'm here in my classroom with my students that's the reality," Gombos said.

Gombos' feelings are echoed by others at East Cary Middle, including Director of Bands Chris Branam.

"Don't worry about what's happening politically. Remember to keep your focus on the children; keep your focus on what you love and doing with your life because when you go to work every day, you want to enjoy what you do," Branam said.

Some believe what's happening in the state has impacted what’s happening in classrooms.

"North Carolina has failed to reinvest in its schools," said Jim Merrill, Wake County Public Schools superintendent. "If you fail to invest in your employees they leave."

Six hundred teachers quit last year school.

"Now we're having to leave, just to make ends meet," said Britt Morton, a departing Apex High School teacher

In 2013, 13 percent of North Carolina teachers left their jobs. That's 12 percent more than in 2012.

"We are finding that more and more students coming out of high school are choosing not to enter teaching as a profession," said Tim Markley, superintendent of New Hanover County Schools.

And for teachers leaving their jobs, it’s been a hard decision to make.

"It's who I am. And to have to make the decision to leave that for financial reasons was devastating," said Kelly Nystrom, a departing Underwood Elementary teacher.

School districts in other states see the pay issues in North Carolina as an opportunity to recruit teachers. The Houston Independent School District in Texas held a job fair in Raleigh on May 31, where they made 12 offers to local teachers.

But Gombos is not planning on going anywhere.

"I don't have any desire to leave education I've done other things and this is my first best destiny," Gombos said.

Like any good teacher, Gombos sees a lesson in the struggles facing teachers and education in our state.

"You have to have a little bit of patience and a lot of hope and positivity, but we've been in bad places for education before and we've come through it and say now we can see where we're going," Gombos added.

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Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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