Other Jobs ACA Staff Do

Madalena Larkins

The Charter Features


     A recent poll of ACA staff members was conducted and sixty eight percent of staff polled had additional sources of income outside of ACA. Only thirty four percent said that they wanted only one job, so about half the staff polled who had another income enjoyed doing two jobs.  Also, sixty seven percent of staff polled said that they were not the main source of income for their family. 

  Quite a few of the staff polled had either another family member bringing in some income, or had additional income, or both. Here are a few examples of staff having multiple jobs and some of their reasons.

    Mary Norville, a Language Arts teacher at ACA, has the side income of being a caretaker for a disabled person, and she says that her husband is a scientist and if not for both of those things, she couldn’t afford to teach.

Norville loves teaching at ACA, she is drawn to it because it’s a charter school, but thinks ACA teachers get paid less than public school teachers and wishes she got paid more, but knows she’d hate teaching at a traditional public school. Her favorite thing about teaching at ACA is “the energy, creativity, the humor of the students, my peers…”

     Sarah Head, a social studies teacher and Education Specialist at ACA, has a small farm just up the road from ACA where she and her family grow flowers and raise livestock. She sells her flowers locally and they raise livestock as food for the family, she has a husband and two daughters.  Ms. Head loves teaching at ACA, her favorite thing about working at ACA are the students (they’re why she teaches) and the flexibility and community we have. Although she enjoys teaching, she wishes she was paid more and thinks ACA teachers get paid less than public school teachers. When asked if she would quit her other job if she was paid more for teaching she said “not totally.’’ When asked if her farm was for income or if it was a hobby she said “I try to make it less a hobby and more for income.”

      Laurie Phelan, an Education Specialist here at ACA, has the side job of being a driver for Lyft. She loves working at ACA, her favorite parts are the students and families. She also enjoys being a LYFT driver; when asked what her favorite part was she said “what I like about my other job is that I get to see more areas of Portland and meet more people that live here and I find that interesting.” However, if she had to pick between her two  jobs she would much rather work at ACA. Phelan is the only person in her family providing for her and her daughter, and so she needs the additional income. She thinks ACA teachers get paid less than public school teachers, and wishes she was paid more but she acknowledges the fact that most public school teachers are in the classroom for a much longer period of time each week. 

      It isn’t just ACA teachers that need a little extra income. A 2018 study by the Oregon Center for Public Policy said that Oregon’s teachers were paid 22% less than workers in the private sector with similar levels of education and experience. This is because of a lack of funding for Education in the state of Oregon, and since charter schools get even less funding, their teachers are affected even more than public school teachers. So most likely your teachers aren’t teaching for the money, they’re teaching because they care about you and want to have a positive effect on the community and the world. 


Phelan, Laurie. Personal Interview. Sept. 2019.

Head, Sarah. Personal Interview. Sept. 2019.

Norville, Mary. Personal Interview. Sept. 2019.