Washington Co. teacher retention rate at 73%, highest in Utah

Southern Utah News

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – The Washington County School District has the highest teacher retention rate in the state. It’s at 73% according to data from the Utah State Board of Education, while the average statewide is 53%.

Becca Klein is a 5th-grade teacher at South Mesa Elementary in St. George. She’s been a teacher for 27 years.

“I’m born and raised in Northern Utah, and moved here with my family, about 7 years ago, we just felt that gravitational pull to Southern Utah,” she says.

Klein taught in Davis County for 20 years and has been with the Washington County School District for the last 7 years.

“I wanted to be a part of a smaller community and a smaller school district and that’s what brought us here and we love it,” she says.

According to the district spokesperson, Steven Dunham, they believe location as well as the unique programs offered at schools, keeps teachers around.

“One of our biggest reasons is something that we started about 15 years ago, by putting learning coaches in all of our schools,” he says.

Dunham says mentoring and coaching staff helps build confidence in all aspects of education. The district also offers a single pay scale.

“Every single year, you’re guaranteed an increase in your pay, with other districts with multiple lanes, you’ll top out after so many years and you won’t get any more increases,” says Dunham.

Klein says Washington County offers a strong sense of community support and resiliency, especially throughout the pandemic.

“To me, it’s an honor to be a teacher, and I’m really proud of what we did. I think we’ve learned a lot about what students are capable of and with the support of parents and our community, we really have a lot of growth we can do, but we are really moving forward I think in a positive light,” says Klein.

District leaders say while there is little turnover, they’re looking to grow their educational staff, specifically with special education teachers.

Dunham says for more information on job offers, contact the district’s Human Resources Department.

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