By Marissa Armas

DENVER (CBS4)– Denver North High parents and students are rallying behind teacher Tim Hernández after it was announced he would not be returning back to the school.

(credit: CBS)

“I know there’s a lot of parents dealing with very upset children today,” said Andrea Chavez. “I’m angry, you have a teacher who wants to teach your kid. He doesn’t reprimand them, he teaches.”

On Tuesday, Hernández said he was pulled into a meeting and was told by Principal Scott Wolf and Assistant Principal Cris Sandoval that he would not be rehired next year, despite performing well. Hernández shared with CBS4 his teacher evaluation scores, student perception surveys, and a letter of endorsement signed by his department.

“Their feedback was specifically directed towards that I didn’t interview well enough despite teaching at North for a year-and-a-half,” Hernández said.

Chavez said Hernández is a community pillar, and she and several other parents were blindsided when they found out that Hernández would not be coming back. Hernández has been an influential teacher for the students throughout his time at North. In December, he helped students create a poetry book about gentrification in the Northside which is now permanently held in the Denver Public Library. He also encouraged students to create a free community fridge to feed their classmates at school who are hungry.

Manuel Aragon, another North High parent, said he was confused by the decision being that nationwide there’s a teacher shortage.

“And you’re going to say ‘well, it’s ok if they go?’ That’s really shocking to me as a parent,” Aragon said.

Denver City Clerk and Recorder Paul López, whose child is in Hernández’s class, said Hernández was one of few Chicano teachers at the school that students could relate to.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s a shame if we cannot have a teacher who grew up here in Denver, grew up in the northside and not be able to continue to teach in the northside with other kids who had that similar experience,” López said.

Aragon echoed that sentiment and said even if students are not in his class, students need to see educators like Hernández at the school and in the hallways.

“We live in a community that is rooted in Chicano history and upraising, and speaking truth to power, and I think the fact Tim is willing to do that in the classroom is huge,” said Aragon.

Will Jones, a DPS spokesperson said Hernández was in an associate position that would end at the end of the school year with no chance of it being renewed. While Principal Wolff told CBS4 he can’t speak about specific employees, in a statement he said in part “Through an equitable process that is the same for all candidates, the hiring committee conducts interviews, reviews applicant materials, and ultimately hires the candidate they believe is best suited to meet the needs of the position.”

Edwin Hudson, the DPS chief of talent, said they work to hire and retain impactful teachers, but parents feel Hernández’s non-renewal sends a different message.

(credit: CBS)

“We didn’t organize and march for nothing. We made sure that everything that we did was to create a school that finally saw our kids,” said López. “If you’re committed to diversity you have to be committed all the way.”

And Hudson said the district is.

“We’re very pleased with our efforts,” said Hudson. “That’s one person we’re talking about. We’re very pleased with our numbers.”

The district said they’re working with those teachers who were not renewed in their current positions, to help them find new jobs. Students at North have started a petition in support of Hernández. They’re also planning a student walkout on Friday.

Marissa Armas