Concert Choir and Chamber Singers teacher Michelle Boulware will not return to CHS or CarmelMiddle School as an instructor next year, after her employment contract was not renewed with CarmelUnifiedSchool District.
“I totally wanted to stay on teaching here,” Boulware says. “They didn’t give me a reason they were letting me go. There’s a law that says they don’t have to.”
Boulware remains mystified by the decision.
“I would love to know why I’m not keeping this job,” says the teacher, who was notified in mid-February of 2013, just before the February school break. “I was just told to keep up on paperwork, stuff like that. And I did.”
Boulware, who has been the choral instructor at CUSD since the retirement of Glenda Bernhardt two years ago, was surprised her contract wasn’t renewed.
“I was doing pretty well,” Boulware says. “There were little issues, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
Boulware says of the contract non-renewal, “I think it doesn’t come down to how I teach. I think it’s an administrative something-or-other that they want, and I don’t have.”
Principal Rick Lopez declined to comment on the issue, citing administration policy on employment decisions.
“I’m really unhappy about it,” says freshman Yuan Tao, a member of the CHS choir, of Boulware not being re-hired. “She’s a great teacher. She deserves to work here if she wants.”
Junior Alyssa Knapp echoes this sentiment: “She’s really such a great and cool person.”
Tao, Knapp and other students in the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers classes began circulating a petition in mid-February to urge the administration to reconsider renewing Boulware’s contract. As of press time, the petition has accumulated about 140 signatures.
“I was really happy when I heard about the petition,” Boulware shares. “It made me feel really good. It made me feel like I was making a difference here—I was doing something right.”
Of the administration not altering its decision after the petition began circulating, Boulware says, “It’s like [what the students want] isn’t factored into their decision.” Boulware goes on to explain she feels it’s important students have a say “in issues like this.”
Above all, Boulware expresses her appreciation for the support her students have given her.
“I love being here,” the music instructor says. “I love the kids. I love what we’re doing—the people I work with.”
“I’m going to be around,” she says. “Maybe not here obviously. I’m not happy about it.”