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Florida woman starts Teacher Career Transition Academy to help teachers switch careers

More than 18,000 Florida teachers left last year, trend expected to continue
Lisa Harding discusses the business model of the Teacher Career Transition Academy.
Posted at 12:32 PM, Apr 10, 2024

"I'm not trying to convince teachers to leave, I'm helping those who want change."

You might call Lisa Harding a teacher's teacher.

She spent years as CEO of an online teacher training and development company and was even born into the profession.

"I came from a family of teachers, my parents both met teaching in middle school," she explained.

 So, it got our attention when Harding told us that after 15 years of working to place educators in the classroom, she stumbled on her latest venture which is squarely focused on helping teachers get out.

"Teachers started reaching out to me asking for help making a career transition into the field that I just left, and I couldn't keep up with the demand," she explained adding how the opportunity that was right in front of her posed a personal dilemma.

"I kind of had a moral, ethical question to ask myself but I realized, I'm not trying to convince teachers to leave the classroom, I'm just helping those that want to make a change and giving them the skills that they need to do so," she said.

Harding and her business partner moved forward starting the Teacher Career Transition Academy.

It's an online subscription-based program that offers a step-by-step approach to helping educators switch careers. Services include a wide range of help, from rewriting resumes to make them less teacher-focused to specialized coaching on how to negotiate salaries that are above average teacher pay. Annual membership is $500 per year members can pay a monthly $57 charge.

"We've had teachers that since they've left, they've already been promoted or gotten new jobs, and they've doubled their teaching salary within 12 months. It's pretty wild,” Harding said.

Sign of the times

Her company is a sign of the times as Florida struggles to hire new teachers or hold on to the ones they have.

More than 18,000 Florida teachers resigned last school year, representing about 10% of the state's publicly employed teachers at the time.

The top reasons included pay, politics, student behavior and overall burnout, our recent investigation found.

A principal's story

 "I absolutely thought I was a lifer. I loved my job and I think probably if COVID didn't hit, I would still be a principal," Michelle Auger, who is among the thousands of Florida educators who have left the industry in the last few years, said.

Auger spent her entire professional career, more than 35 years, in education.

 Most recently, she was a principal at an elementary school near Tampa. But after watching her own teaching staff burn out, she knew it was time to leave.

"It was just so disheartening to me," Auger said. "I think that's really the bottom line for me."

Michelle Auger spent more than three decades in education before leaving the profession.
Michelle Auger spent more than three decades in education before leaving the profession.

Auger signed up with the Career Teacher Transition Academy to help revamp her resume highlighting skills that she used every day on campus but didn't know how to sell outside the profession.

"Project management is probably the biggest one of all," she explained about Harding’s services. "As an administrator, that was one I never would have thought to even put on there, but I'm like, gosh, I do that every day, all day."

Auger is now the educational program coordinator for a camp in central Florida. She describes it as a dream job and credits Harding's company for helping her as the pressures of teaching in Florida continue to leave so many exploring life outside the classroom and how to get there.

"I'm not going anywhere. There's definitely a niche here," Harding said. "I think teachers are going to start to see more and more of their peers thriving in careers beyond the classroom where they have more flexibility, they have better working conditions and better pay. This is only the beginning."

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