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decided: February 20, 1976.


Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in case of Appeal of Lois V. Goodrich, a Professional Employee, from a decision of the Board of School Directors of The Great Valley School District, Chester County, Pa., No. 231.


James E. McErlane, with him William H. Lamb, and Lamb, Windle & McErlane, for appellant.

Edward A. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee, Department of Education.

Alexander A. DiSanti, with him Richard, Brian, DiSanti & Hamilton, for intervening appellee.

Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 425]

This is an appeal by the Great Valley School District from an order of the Secretary of Education dated March 11, 1975, which sustained the appeal of Lois V. Goodrich from the action of the Board of School Directors of Great Valley in refusing to renew Goodrich's teaching contract for the 1973-74 school year. The Secretary also ordered the reinstatement of Goodrich without loss of pay. The only question presented is whether Goodrich is a professional employe under Section 1108 of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. ยง 11-1108. We hold that she is and affirm the order of the Secretary.

On May 27, 1970, Goodrich entered into a temporary professional employe's contract as a home economics teacher commencing September 1970. In August 1970, the Department of Education issued to Goodrich an "Interim Teaching Certificate" because she lacked six college credits required before an "Instructional I (provisional) Teaching Certificate" could be issued. This latter certificate is ususally issued to a temporary professional employe. By the end of December 1970, Goodrich has completed all of the requirements but her college did not inform the Department of this fact until April 12, 1971. During her course of studies, Goodrich completed and delivered to the college on March 21, 1970 (as was the custom) an application for the "Instructional I" certificate. This application was submitted in anticipation of a successful completion of the Department's requirements for the "Instructional I" certificate. Upon receiving the approved application by the college, the Department issued the "Instructional I" certificate, dated "April, 1971." The record establishes that if the college had dated and forwarded the application in December 1970 when Goodrich

[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 426]

    completed the work, the Department would have approved it as of that date. The record further establishes that, under the Department's certification procedures, if the college had erred and later confirmed that the April 1971 date was in error, the Department would have changed the certificate to reflect certification in December 1970.

Goodrich continued in her capacity as home economics teacher through July 17, 1973, when the Board voted not to renew her contract for the ensuing year. In the meantime, she had received satisfactory performance ratings on February 1, 1971, June 11, 1971, February 18, 1972, and June 9, 1972. The record does not indicate that any performance rating was made in February 1973 and under Elias v. Board of School Directors, 421 Pa. 260, 218 A.2d 738 (1966), the absence of such a rating, is tantamount to a satisfactory rating.

On April 30, 1973, while Goodrich was in her sixth semester of teaching at Great Valley, she received her first unsatisfactory rating. This rating was based upon a "classroom observation" of March 22, 1973, which noted uncleanliness in her classroom and on a "professional personnel evaluation" dated April 30, 1973, which referred to the prior observation. She was advised of the charges against her and a public hearing with set, after which, on June 21, 1973, the Board informed her that the charges against her had been dismissed for a lack of a two-thirds majority vote of the Board. On July 17, 1973, the Board sent another letter advising Goodrich that her teaching contract would not be renewed for the 1973-74 school year. This letter specified the unsatisfactory performance rating of April 30, 1973, as the reason for the Board's action.

Goodrich appealed her dismissal to the Secretary of Education and, after hearing, the Secretary sustained the appeal after concluding that Great Valley had not satisfied the dismissal ...

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