JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Action News spoke with a recently-fired teacher from the Duval County School District, following the announcement that 66 teachers were released for failing to obtain proper certification.
Wes Givens earned degrees in business and aviation management and also has long list of academic accomplishments. When a job with the FAA was put on hold, he gave teaching a shot.
"Got my temporary certificate, went in for interviews and got hired the same day," said Givens.
It made sense because education is the family profession. Both of his parents have more than 25 years experience with DCPS under their belts.
Givens put his degrees to work teaching math at First Coast High School.
But after three years, he failed to obtain the required certification. As a result his name landed on the list of 66 local teachers now out of the classroom, fired by school board members less than two weeks before the start of school.
"I loved dealing with the students. It brought me joy to teach them, grow as a student," said Givens.
According to the district, 26 didn't pass General Knowledge Certification, 18 weren't certified for next school year and 31 failed to complete out of field certification.
Givens was ready to walk away from First Coast High, but says there are plenty of quality teachers on this list who should still be working with local kids.
He says for new teachers it's sometimes hard to keep up with continuing education requirements and the certification process.
"Some of the teachers who work at schools where they weren't informed, they didn't have a professional development coordinator or anyone to let them know, then I feel real bad for them. Especially if they weren't expecting it."
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the teachers will have a chance to get their jobs back if they complete their certification and there's a job opening.
Action News spoke with a former teacher from Nathan Forrest High who says he does plan on reapplying with DCPS.
The superintendent insists the district will be ready with replacement teachers, despite these firings.
Classes in Duval County begin in 12 days.