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BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) — We’re just weeks away from the start of school and the Brunswick County school system is losing one of its top educators.

Richie Brown is leaving his post at South Brunswick High School for a job in the private sector, but says he is worried that more of his former colleagues may soon follow if there isn’t a change in the bottom line.

“I was about to be a seventh-year teacher, and I would be paid the same as I was as a second-year teacher,” said Richie Brown. “When you get into education you know you’re not going to become a millionaire. I wasn’t getting into this because of the money, but you still expect to be compensated fairly”

Brown and his wife Kristina, who is also a teacher, were trying to have another child and realized that it was going to be extremely difficult on them financially.

To be able to afford his expanding family Richie says he was forced to look for another job outside of education.

“I will definitely miss being able to teach those kids but one thing I’m looking forward to is being compensated fairly for one and having a chance to move up in the world,” said Brown. “I can actually go up in this company and get promotions every year and get raises every year.”

The Brunswick County Board of Education isn’t taking the loss of one of its top educators lightly.

“Some of our best and brightest teachers simply cannot afford to remain in the classroom,” said Charlie Miller, Chairman of the Brunswick County Board of Education. “Many of the teachers leaving are those who since entering the profession are making the same salary they did 6-8 years ago. The loss of these teachers absolutely impacts the classroom. Serious consideration must be given as to how we can stop this epidemic.”

Brown says there is an easy solution to keep teachers from following his lead and that’s for school systems to pay more, but he knows that’s not possible without more support from the state and federal levels.

Comment on this Story

  • denis

    I’m not sure i use the right words cause i’m not English speaker. I read you carefully but yours comparisons between different kind of government employee in not complete : you missed to mention skills. How many percent of the population if enough skilled to teach mathematics for instance ?
    How long had those people been studying for knowing this matter ? Do you think this is worthless. If the case not matter to be worried, every body can do it. In france there is competition to be a teacher (with education level requirements), i suppose it’s the same in US. So every body can take it, but few manage to pass…

  • Guest Carp

    Do the teachers you refer to really perform badly? How do you know? If you have one child then that child may see six teachers in a year. I doubt you have ever really sat to hear those complaints that “kill” you. I’m almost certain that you have never complained about your job because that would be hypocritical. You are right about overtime though. Everyone works overtime in their job but teachers don’t get time and a half pay for their overtime. “They agreed to a contracted salary” you say! Yes they did because no teacher gets paid by the hour; they had to agree because it’s the only option for their profession. Education majors “tend” to have lower IQ’s than most other majors. Well, that’s insanely laughable. I need to see that data. I teach mathematics and science at the high school level. I have an engineering degree. I love my job but I won’t do it forever because I don’t have to. I’ll leave for better pay one day and I’ll complain about how I didn’t make enough teaching but I’m glad we all have this shining example of Guest 2020. The person who never complains. The person that is sick and tired of teachers’ griping. Teacher should stop complaining. I mean I’m glad our Founding Fathers didn’t complain about circumstances they found themselves in. Who knows, that might have changed everything. Maybe they should’ve gotten together and penned their complaints and declared some kind of independence. Hmmm. Maybe I’m wrong.

  • Guest000000

    The fact that you have to keep telling people how much money you make and how great your job is tells me that you are full of it. I also guess you think that teachers had nothing to do with your ability to earn $100/hour. Whether they taught you (sounds like you may be one of the ones who fell through the cracks), or the people who taught you how to do the job you do, you should thank a teacher. But I won’t keep you any longer…Time is money!

  • Guest123123

    When you are a consultant in a special field like I am that is the going rate my friend. Sorry if this offends you. No need for me to make something like this up. Now move on to your boring no paying job.

  • beach guy

    A drop from what? 48th to 49th?
    If I were you I would not try to turn this conversation based on the past record of our poor overworked public education system. It has failed when high school graduates need to take preparatory courses to pass the entrance exam at cape fear.

    Most Kids in private school go on to receive a higher level of education because the people that are instructing them are judged by their students performance. And their parents sacrifice to make sure they get an education and not indoctrination. public school as we know was re-invented around the turn of the last century to control the masses but they will not teach that in school because it is self defeating. The kids I know going to school on-line are doing just fine without being around the bullies and thugs and outright criminals running around the schools we have now. After all is said and done parents should be making these decisions not the government. I say privatize all aspects of the government and let companies compete for our business.
    But that’s just one mans opinion.

  • Guest000000

    haha…I call bullcrap.

  • Guest000000

    You are a moron.

  • TFill

    My grandchildren go to school in SC. My daughter, (She went to school in Charlotte, NC) has told me numerous times how great the Clover school system is.

  • Guest2020

    The teachers in NC make above the average salary for the state. They have more days off than most other people do. That special ed teacher and Richie Brown are exercising their right to seek employment elsewhere. All employees have that unless they are bound by a contract that they agreed to.

  • Triadwatch

    Can someone divulge which private sector company he is going to work for because if he thinks each year he will get raises and promotions then good luck in the private sector and getting those promotions and raises each year

  • Barbara

    Teachers don’t need “public sympathy.” They need a living wage to support their family, and receive fair compensation for guiding children who will be our future citizens. It is demoralizing to expect teachers to pay for higher education and advanceed degrees, and not be compensated for it. To compare those who register voters as being in the “trenches of the democratic process, you cannot know what being in the “trenches” of public education is like, and saying this is being totally myopic. I do agree that social workers are underpaid, and need to be paid more for what they do. Building inspectors, food preparers, and animal control workers do not need the level of education teachers and social workers do. There is a difference.

  • Barbara

    I recently was in Asheville, and talked with a Special Ed 6th year experienced teacher who is leaving NC to teach in SC. She will not only have fewer students, but a big salary increase. She had NOT received a pay increase since her first year as a teacher in NC. Can one blame Richie Brown, or the many others who will do the same? I am a retired NC teacher, and I remember the 80’s having salaries frozen. I know how hard I worked for years. It is very disheartening to know that we are now again doing the same, only this time it’s much worse. NC public education will continue to lose its best and brightest due to need for fair compensation, like Richie Brown, and many others will do. Our teachers work very hard, and most are dedicated to their students. Our lawmakers have made some really stupid decisions that will impact education in our state for a years to come. It is a terribly sad and misguided path they have chosen for NC, by short-changing our children’s future. Incomprehensible!

  • Vog46

    Nice blanket statement but there seems to be very little consistency in the studies comparing public versus private education.
    Both sides trot out there favorite studies, it seems.
    One thing I do know is that private schools don’t pay as well as many think. For many schools it all about the bottom line, so they take teachers who may be qualified and some that are not, and pay them 5% more that the state or county does and then lay claim to “private industry pays teachers better than the public sector.”
    True but 5% more than nothing is still very little.
    I’m NOT convinced private schools are better, yet, and no longer have any dogs in this fight, but as a taxpayer I know I pay their salaries and also know that a vibrant education system is critical to the long term health of our economy.


  • Guest2020

    If they are educators, they were probably incapable of handling the courses for a real education. Education majors are near the bottom of the pack when it comes to IQ. A lot of people who cannot handle the load that their chosen majors require. When this happens a lot of them choose education since it is an easier course to complete. It’s like the old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”

  • Concerned citizen

    We clearly need good teachers and it is sad to hear of good teachers leaving the profession. That said, we need reform and accountability at the governmental, school, parental, and student level. Examples: We need reform of the tax code where ALL pay into the system and welfare reform where the government stops giving out money to able body Americans. We need to formally establish a year round position to account for teacher hours and then pay them a fair salary. Many do put in extra hours, there are also many who don’t. Teacher tenure needs to be eliminated; we need competitive performance to keep folks from becoming complacent. Last and probably most importantly, we need parent and student accountability and engagement. Televisions, phones, I-pods, and video games need to be turned off; homework needs to supervised; and after school jobs, sports, and other activities should not be the # 1 priority of a student/teenagers life.

  • Guest123123

    What a great post!!

  • Guest123123

    My grammar is good enough to earn me $100 per hhour inmy business. How much per hour does your fine education and proper grammar earn you.

  • oldmanriver

    Seems to me Frank has a problem with the Koch brothers.
    The last time I read about the Koch boys they were re-investing
    90% of profits in existing/new ventures. How many (jobs) created
    by their critics? Please get back to me when your corporate phone directory for business locations ( jobs ) rivals the Real yellow pages.

  • Cassie

    To see morons talking about teachers and how they get three months off.

    Here’s the truth – I was out of school on June 13 and go back August 16…that’s 2 months PS but for the sake of things, let’s not stop there. I ended up back in on the 14 to finish summer breakdown. I spent 10 days this summer doing professional development. That’s 8 weeks…minus 10 days of professional development. Oh, and I’ve spent a week at the school getting ready for the first day. I will also be back at school today to work on things for our freshman camp (that I run for over
    1000 people in the community and don’t get paid for). So, 8 weeks minus 15 days…6 weeks. Okay, now lets take all the time I spent this summer doing lesson plans-minus another 2 weeks where I worked from home….finally, lets not forget the conference I presented at for 80+ educators. Let’s say I only spent 5 days preparing….which is a gross under estimation. So minus out those days and the three day conference. And so mathematically it looks like this:
    Bitter community member’s assumption of summer – extra unpaid workdays – professional development – lesson planning – room pre and post summer prep – freshman camp work – conference = shut up. Seriously, get your facts straight.

  • craig

    My mom taught for 28 years until cancer took her life in 1985. I was 21 angry years old. You know…….Why God?? She was 9 hours away from having her doctorate but in 1950 her adviser said “no man will hire you if you get your doctorate” What a waste. As her loving son I would so encourage her to leave teaching today. Yet she knew nothing but teaching. She taught 1st grade and would not send a child to the second grade that could not read. Some parents loved her and others hated her. I miss her every day. I talk to her every day. Today if she were here I would advise her to leave teaching. I was a poor college student that made more then mom my first year out. Something is very wrong with that. I love you MOM.

  • Professor Perry

    An untrained crybaby teacher is going to get a better paying job in the private sector. I’ve never seen it happen, unless they go back to school and get a real education.

  • GuestTeacher

    If you’re already receiving Master’s pay, you will be grandfathered in.

  • Guest123123

    Omg I was just using 50k times 20 years to show teachers will never be millionaires. It was a foolish statement on his part. I do not care what your salary or any teachers salary is . Dont like your pay then move on.

  • Guest2020

    It kills me to hear teachers whine about their pay when they make above the average salary in the state. The summer is not the only time you get off. I can guarantee you that you have a lot more days off than most people. It kills me to hear teachers who expect to keep their job regardless of how badly they perform. It kills me to hear teachers complain about long hours like there is no one else in the world who works overtime. I kills me to hear teachers gripe and complain about how bad they have it when there are so many people who can’t get work in this horrible economy.

    It kills me that a teacher dares to call anyone a moron given that education majors tend to have lower IQ’s than most other majors in college.

  • Ms Hopkins

    Take a look at where NC is. We are not at the bottom when it comes to achievement. http://legislative.ncpublicschools.gov/20110318-fastfacts.pdf NC is 45 in teacher salary and per pupil expenses, but it is 22 as far as educational ranking. There’s no reason that teachers shouldn’t be paid fairly to account for this, especially given the whole accountability tied to student performance rationale by the legislators. Raise teacher’s pay until they’re ranked 22 in the nation for that!

  • Vog46

    I had nuns for elementary school and went to public high school and college.
    I find that I don’t remember many of the instructors individually but I distinctly remember there being very little difference between the private and public sector as far as quality of education is concerned.

    That said – I’m sure times have changed – as have families, individual responsibilities, and governments(s). I have severe heartburn over education – it is GROSSLY unfair to hold teachers accountable for the effort put forth by students and their families.
    Conversely, its also grossly unfair to hold communities “hostage” by using “It’s your kids education” to extort pay raises out of taxpayers while school performance continues to stagnate or even decline.
    Ranking near the bottom in pay, and near the bottom in performance does NEED to be addressed.


  • sitzegou

    It really is too bad that the author of the above statement is as ignorant as he/she is. $50k salary for a 7 year teacher with a Bachelors is not real. The truth is about 32k not 50k. I have my masters and teach at the 17th step and my salary is $45k. That is if I can find work. Dear author, the state salary schedule for teachers is public domain. Please do YOUR homework and educate yourself prior to making such outlandish statements. Oh and by the way, my wife has 35 years teaching and her salary with a Masters degree is $55k. And now, with the new budget, we both will be getting a 10-15% pay cut since the state will no longer accept advanced degrees in regards to pay rate. Man, that’s like working for a corporation for 30 years and having all your seniority stripped just because some group in management thinks it is a good idea. In all hopes that such is bestowed upon the author. So, let’s just make the profession a dead end job that only the insane would want.

  • Teacher

    Benefit package, job security, and a 3 month vacation? Do you even know a single teacher personally? Those things are a myth that noneducators try to spread to make the educators look bad for wanting to be treated more fair. The realityis: benefits that are barely comparable to large companies, 1 yr contracts that can easily be discontinued each year, and 3 months of working at home and on your own time to become better at your job and to prepare for the next year.You should not speak ignorant thoughts on something you obviously know nothing about.

  • Are youinsane

    In what world do all the teachers in Brunswick County make 50K?!? You have to be teaching for 33 years to make 50k…. Get your facts straight before you start hating on people who pour their heart and souls into making the men and women of tomorrow.

  • jacqueline stackhouse

    It is so short sighted not to legislate the appropriate professional salaries for all educators, particularly the class room teacher.
    Education is our path to freedom and we pay a high price when we purposely neglect it.

  • Guest100001

    Like you said teachers know they won’t make much money, however they are paid on a scale and their salary is to go up every year. They have not gotten their raises in YEARS. I have read several people blame the county, but this is a State decision. The counties can pay a subsidy which they are considering, but the raises and the scale is set by the State.

    This is McCrory and his hard liners putting our education system at the bottom. It is amazing that McCrory has the Cahones to give his entire cabinet a raise.

    When large businesses start refusing to relocate to our State because their employees are worried about our school system, maybe someone will notice.

  • Son of Teachers

    Being a millionaire is not having earned a million dollars in your life, it is have a net worth over over $1M.
    You are a great example of what could be solved by better educational system.

  • Guest-o-matic

    …a long time ago, back when the teachers were deprived of having support of the student’s family, the support of their own management (gub’ment…’magin that?) and were prohibited from being an integral part of a child’s development. This continues and expands as we speak.

    ALL of MY teachers are extremely special! I remember each and every one! From art to English, from history to mathematics…I remember to this day…still, and thank them.

  • Frank mazuca

    What until the Koch Brothers and ALEC privatize education and there will be a big drop in the quality of education for most Americans and a big profit for corporations running school and online schools such as K12.

  • Priscilla

    I am a retired teacher of almost 30 years and since 1999 I have seen a decline in the field of education. I can no longer encourage young people to become teachers. The state political figures have let it be known that this is an occupation that they can control with money. What a shame! We had a dry spell during the 80’s, but there were real reasons and we recovered. I am sorry that you will not see that light at the end of your years. Do what you have to do and remember what you have learned. That knowledge will take you far in the private sector. God Bless You! A fellow educator

  • Guest2020

    I grew up in a private school and can say that if there is not difference in your experience with both sectors, then that is a problem of the private school you attended. We would often get kids coming in from the public school system and they were behind in just about everything we did. In order to graduate, we had to have more credits than the state required in English, Science, Math and History. Having two children in the public schools, I can tell you that it has only gotten worse.

  • Guest123123

    I am keenly aware of what qualifys to be classified as a millionaire. I was just using a quick baseline of 50k x 20 years to show how long it would take to even make that much which shows what a foolish statement is was for the teacher to make. Im sorry that those of us with accounting degrees think in baselines when discussing numbers. Schools and teachers are overrated. My son who is at west point right now has never mentioned one teacher over the years that stood out over his K 12 education. He did have a father who helped him with his homework and made sure his work was done. I want a raise!!

  • Meredith Bullard

    I feel his pain. I am a Fulbright Teacher Scholar and US State Dept Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow. I love teaching children. However, I love equality. I took at 17k pay cut from VA in order to move back to Charlotte. My mother had cancer, and I wanted to be near her during that time. Charlotte is my hometown, and I am embarrassed. Just like Mr. Brown, I am also considering leaving the teaching field for a career that compensates fairly. NC will see a mass exodus of great teachers… which will lead to a deficiency of teachers and forced hiring of inadequate teachers. Private school attendance will increase. It is a sad day when good teachers from all over our state feel the need to leave their job and save for private schools.

    While some may argue that most fields don’t get paid more for getting a masters… I will argue that many jobs would never even hire a person without one (ex.MBA). Research can prove whatever the legislature wants it to… especially when it saves you money. Now, it is just proving that NC doesn’t care about teachers.

  • Guest123123

    I do not care if they make 50k or not. I was just using that number as a baseline to show how foolish his statement was about doing this job and not becoming a millionaire. It’s obvious that will not happen. Once again if your a teacher just move on.

  • John Henry

    If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys “ya’ll”. Now you know.

  • Guestme

    and local government doesn’t pay particularly well. But when you accept a job in local government, you acknowledge that while you won’t make as much money as your friends and neighbors in the private sector, health insurance, pensions and legacy pensions tend to make up for the lower salaries over the course of a lifetime.

    There are many noble jobs in local government that, in a perfect world, should pay more but the reality of budgets dictates that they just don’t.

    The people who register you to vote and make sure your vote gets counted are paid similar to teachers. These folks are in the trenches of the democratic process we so treasure.

    The building inspectors who allow you to go to sleep at night while reasonably sure your house won’t collapse on you or burn around you due to faulty wiring won’t are critical jobs and their pay is comparable to teachers. We’ve also had multiple major hurricane strikes and most structures were left standing. Thank a building inspector.

    Do you like going out to eat being reasonably sure that you’re not eating off a dirty plate and that the food properly prepared? A well educated health inspector is paid on par with teachers for their job.

    The Social Worker who investigates heart breaking cases such as child abuse/neglect aren’t getting wealthy for such a difficult task.

    The Animal Control officers who rescue poorly treated animals and strays as well as seizing dangerous animals are lucky to earn what a teacher earns.

    If you decide to teach, unless you teach at a private school, you will be a local government employee with a state stipend. How is this not clear when you chose this path? Teachers get the pubic sympathy and the ink because of the “Oh won’t someone think of the children!!” mindset that sells so well.

  • smart

    support our teachers….cut brunswick county boards pay…. dont mess with our kids…

  • DK Medlin

    Teacher pay in North Carolina is a disgrace. Our General Assemblymen will live to regret their actions. They should be ashamed.

  • Guest123

    That’s a shame that school teachers keep getting pay cuts . They have one of the most important jobs, educating our next generation. Somewhere up the food chain of this country someone had better wake up!

  • Heather

    It’s a shame our teachers get low pay, and our so called “sports hereos”, make MILLIONS!!! Better yet, i’m a parent of three children at Town Creek Elementary, and WHY WOULD YOU TAKE AWAY AN SRO OFFICER, THAT NOT ONLY DOES A GREAT JOB, BUT, HAS A GREAT CONNECTION WITH ALL THE STUDENTS, STAFF, AND PARENTS!!!!!! I’m absolutely APPAULED AT BRUNSWICK COUNTY SHERIFF DEPT!!!! JEREMY WAS A GREAT FIT FOR TCES!!!! When will we LEARN TO LOOK OUT FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR CHILDREN!!!!! ?????

  • Rebekah

    Thank you Richie for sharing your story. It’s a story that is all too familiar. My husband and I are both graduates that received the NC Teaching Fellows Scholarship, which is now no longer being funded. Our whole college careers we were told that Teaching Fellows were the best and the brightest and provided with amazing opportunities throughout college. Well now that we’ve both been teaching for 5 years and decided to begin a family, we had the same problem – not enough income. My husband decided to leave the classroom and also go into the private sector, making $15,000 more at an entry level position than he was as a classroom teacher. I’m saddened that more kids won’t be able to have him as a teacher, however it is becoming more and more impossible for families to be able to afford living at such a low income. I’m sure the kids you taught will miss you dearly, but family does come first. It’s just sad to have to make that tough decision. Good luck on the new job!

  • Guest123123

    Well im glad to hear you did not become a teacher to be a millionaire. 50k x 20 years would gross that amount. Its good your moving on if that is the right decision for you and your family. People all over the country have to make the same decisions every day. Teachers are not a protected class of the workforce.

  • Guest4396

    Teachers have complained about pay since I was in school in the 1950s-60s. I am sure they know all about pay scales and few raises when they decide on the teaching profession. Still, many do opt to become teachers. Where else can you get a benefit package, job security and a 3 month vacation? School will soon be taught via internet, anyhow, so it might be time to start thinking about alternative employment opportunities. There is always a graduating class to replace the ones that decide that teaching was not for them for whatever reason. It is, however always sad to see a well-liked and proficient educator leave the classroom.

  • Guest123123

    AGREED!!!! What a bunch of whiners.

  • Educator Anonymous

    You should probably get an English teacher to proofread your ridiculous comments against teachers before you post them publicly, as your grammar is hideous. For most people, that tutorial would be free in a public school classroom. You’re welcome :)

  • Guest123123

    Please just quit your job and move on. How many times do we have to listen to all of these government workers complain about what they don’t have. How about using all you have learned and start your own tutoring business and set you you own pay scale. What do you think you are worth on the open market? I worked for the state 17 years and hated what I was being paid. I left and now make 100 per hr. BOOM!!!!!

  • Christy Spain

    Please remember we are ten month employees and do not get paid during the summer.

  • Christy Spain

    Teachers are 10 month employees and do not get paid during the summer. Rest assured the summer months are spent preparing for the upcoming year. I attend IEP meetings during the summer with no pay. I attend professional development during the summer at my expense. I spend an astronomical amount of money each year ensuring that my classroom has everything needed to make lessons meaningful. The money I spend on students will holes in their shoes, socks for the sockless, and buying lunch for them when they can no longer charge. What do you do on your days off?

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