MCS Teacher Spotlighted on Billboard Told Position Was Cut

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(Memphis) - The best and the brightest of Memphis City Schools are showcased on billboards around town. But at least one of those teachers learned recently that even though she was marketed as irreplaceable, her job wasn’t safe.

"They gave me a plaque that said I'm irreplaceable," Level 5 teacher, Robin Smith, said.

Memphis City Schools also touted Smith's skills with a billboard that read, "I am the best in my field. I am an Irreplaceable."

“I felt like they wanted me to be irreplaceable,” she said.

That was until last week when she was told her position as a music teacher at Willow Oaks Elementary was eliminated.

"No one is safe in this kind of merger,” she said.

They told her she was being excessed, which means she wasn't fired, but she would be placed somewhere else in the district.
Memphis City Schools says unfortunately several other Level 5 teachers are in the same situation.

The district says those hard decisions came down to program capacity and enrollment, but added that because of attrition most of the top teachers will be able to be placed in other jobs in the district.

That wasn't an option for Robin.

"Elementary Orff music is my heart and they’re just weren't any positions available,” she said.

So she's leaving, and has found a new job at a different district.

“This teacher was on a billboard for a reason she must have made an impact on someone's life and now she's going to go who knows where. That’s really sad," MCS parent Mary Dugan said.

What saddens Robin the most is what could happen to her students.

“They aren't going to have as good of an education as they had before. It breaks my heart and to see other teachers leaving that are good teachers. Now they are going to miss out because they don't have those teachers there in their lives."

For the majority of the other teachers in the district who were excessed, they will now meet with principals of different schools to determine where they will work next year.