Skip to content

Ann Marie Corgill Says Goodbye to Her Students

November 8, 2015

ann marie corgill 2  Ann Marie Corgill

On October 30, 2015, 2014-15 Alabama Teacher of the Year Ann Marie Corgill resigned from teaching after being informed by the Alabama State Department of Education that she would need to complete further certification requirements to teach grades that she had been teaching for decades– including the grade level she was teaching when she was chosen as Alabama’s 2014-15 Teacher of the Year.

On that occasion, Alabama state superintendent Thomas Bice considered Corgill to be qualified:

“Ann Marie Corgill is a shining example of professionalism and dedication to Alabama’s most valued asset – its children,” Bice said in a release. “She is a role model for current and future teachers to emulate, and we are honored to have her represent our state as the 2014-15 Alabama Teacher of the Year.”

In an excerpt from her October 27, 2015, resignation letter to Birmingham City Schools, Corgill notes, “After 21 years of teaching in grades 1-6, I have no answers as to why this is a problem now, so instead of paying more fees, taking more tests and proving once again that I am qualified to teach, I am resigning.”

In the days that followed her resignation, Corgill still had other goodbyes to say, including the following to her fifth grade students:

November 2, 2015

Dear Corgill Kids,

I wanted to tell you goodbye in person today, but school leaders thought it was best for you to have a regular day at school and move on without any stress or drama. I’m sure you’ve seen the news or read the articles posted by now. My resignation is an adult issue. NOT at all related to you!! This is why I’m writing this letter. I could not let you go without saying the true things you need to hear from me and know in your heart.

The reporters and news media and adults who make decisions don’t know that you are growing together as a team, learning ways to solve problems, are writing pages about your thinking from read aloud, love graphic novels, look forward to recess, and would eat Takis and candy all day if given the chance. [smiley face] But I do.

The reporters and people at the Birmingham City district office and State Department of Education don’t know how hard you work in football practice during the week, that you grow and sell fresh vegetables for the Farm Lab, that you cheer and dance, and are the only ones in the school who know all the words to the learning pledge and the correct way to pledge allegiance to the flag. But I do.

The reporters and the payroll department and the Federal Government, and the commenters on don’t know that you go home and write blog posts, that you can teach others how to make avatars (and tell the old folks what they are!), write beautiful poetry, multiply large numbers, and share your thinking about how you see images in number talk. But I do.

The CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC news media can’t begin to share the beauty of your faces,the brilliance of your minds, and the deep desire to learn in your heart. They have no way of knowing that sometimes you cook dinner, go home alone, or take care of your siblings and wipe their tears when they are sad. They don’t know what you’ve experienced in your 10 and 11 years oflife, what you wonder about the future, and who you dream of becoming. But I do.

Rules and regulations and certification requirements can separate us physically, but they will never be able to separate your hearts from mine. I will help you, learn with you, write you, and even talk on the phone with you (even though I hate talking on the phone).

I want each of you to always remember that YOU are more important than tests, scores, federal laws, teacher certifications, or hurtful words that others say. It’s your hard work, your never-give-up-attitude, your determination to become a team, your willingness to apologize and forgive others, and your character that matter most….not just now, but forever.

Please remember that I know what it is that makes each of you special and unique, and I want you to promise to continue to learn, live hopefully, and tell the complete and wonderful story of you. Once a Corgill kid, always a Corgill kid. Don’t ever forget that.

Love you [First names of students]

Corgill’s letter appeared at the end of this November 06, 2015, blog post. The rest of Corgill’s post leading up to her student goodbye is as follows:

Best wishes to Ann Marie as she turns the page.

turn the page


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education (April 2014, Information Age Publishing).

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools? (June 2015, TC Press).

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

From → Tenure

  1. LAEducator permalink

    Thank you, Ann Maria, for your 21 years of positively impacting your students as a teacher, and for putting a face on how the absurd policies of education reform currently in place have driven quality teachers away and destroyed teaching as a profession.

  2. Natalie permalink

    Thank you for your time and dedication! Your words are so true. ….no one knows what a teacher goes through on a daily basis, yet it’s these people putting our career and children at stake. Your love and understanding of students displays your passion of not only being their teacher, but a teacher of knows their kiddos:)

  3. dolphin permalink

    Reblogged this on Dolphin and commented:
    School officials didn’t want her to tell her kids good-bye in person NOT because they wanted to keep their school day *normal*…but because it would have more of a lasting impact to hug her and tell her good-bye among shared tears. Then they might REALLY start to question their leadership. Creeps.

  4. Judy Cooper permalink

    That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve heard in a long time. What a bunch of jerks those “officials” are.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Schneider: Alabama’s Teacher of the Year Says Goodbye to Her Students | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. Ed News, Tuesday, November 10, 2015 Edition | tigersteach

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s