WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A group of parents and students rallied outside of Ashley High School Wednesday afternoon to support a teacher who may not be able to return next year.
Ashley High School teacher David Rutledge was recommended to the school board for non-renewal after just one year of teaching. This comes weeks after it was announced he would no longer be the head boys basketball coach at Ashley.
Ashley senior Brittany Butts takes A.P. Psychology with Rutledge and said he is a great teacher.
"Definitely one of the best teachers I have ever had throughout my high school career," Butts said.
Ashley parent Musa Agil said Rutledge is one of his heroes.
"I think the school will lose a great person and a great teacher, and a great motivator," Agil said.
According to New Hanover county school officials, a teacher can face non-renewal for any reason that is not personal, arbitrary, capricious, political, discriminatory or illegal.
Probationary teachers must go through this renewal process each year until tenure is reached.
While officials won't say exactly why Rutledge faces non-renewal, Assistant Superintendent for Human resources, John Welmers said non-renewals are very uncommon in New Hanover County. There have only been 2 since 2012.
"Normally we would not do a non-renewal during their first year," Welmers said.
Welmers said the county works to help the teacher improve their performance within their first few years to get them to the county's standard of excellence.
Rutledge appealed the non-renewal and is now waiting to hear the reasons for his non-renewal recommendation.
The Board will make the final decision on Rutledge's fate. School officials said the teacher may further appeal the Board's decision to Superior Court where a judge will perform an administrative review of the record and determine whether the non-renewal was justified.