Pandemic burnout could lead to school administrators leaving | KSTP.com

Pandemic burnout could lead to school administrators leaving

Ben Henry
Updated: November 16, 2021 11:19 PM
Created: November 16, 2021 11:04 PM

Education leaders fear burnout from the pandemic could lead to school administrators leaving their positions. 

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS recently reported more teachers are leaving during the school year than typical, and now school leaders could be trending that way as well.

Dr. Tony Kinkel, the executive director of the Minnesota Board of School Administrators — the licensing board for the state's school administrators — says he has never spoken to as many administrators who are considering leaving then this year. 

"A record number of administrators right now are really soul searching about whether they want to stay in this profession or not," Dr. Kinkel said. 

He mentioned reasons for this include social media, increased pressure from parents, the pandemic, and other reasons could push people from the profession. 

"In very small cases, but a growing number, the stress of all of those factors are leading some of our administrators into some mental health challenges," Dr. Kinkel said. 

While there have been struggles, Dr. Kinkel said he's connected with some who are considering leaving and has been able to talk through their struggles; he has hope they'll hold on to their positions. 

In the eighth-largest district in the state, ISD 728, superintendent Dr. Daniel Bittman says his administrators are not considering leaving, but they are facing new challenges and are experiencing burnout. 

"They're tired," Dr. Bittman said before sharing that 15-hour workdays are normal for him and his administrators right now. 

On top of learning how to navigate and teach during the pandemic, staffing shortages are one of the district's biggest challenges right now. 

"We have difficulties finding bus drivers, and we have difficulties for positions that may be a couple of hours a day serving food, for example," Dr. Bittman said. 

"We have difficulties finding teacher substitutes," he added. 

Dr. Bittman added that it is a big burden for the district's administrators. He also mentioned that dealing with these difficulties may lead to a better learning environment for everyone. 

"I think that we're going to have to continue to look at education differently, and we're going to have to recognize that what works for one family might not work for another," Dr. Bittman said.

"We'll have to continue to be innovative and willing to do things differently than we've ever done," he added. "Those are things that will make us stronger in the end."


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