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Medina v. Board of Educ. of City of Chicago

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

June 11, 2014

LILLIAN MEDINA, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 11CH 23406. Honorable Kathleen Kennedy, Judge Presiding.

SYLLABUS

When plaintiff gave up her position as a tenured teacher at an elementary school and accepted a position as a nontenured assistant principal at the school, she knew that keeping the assistant principal position was contingent on obtaining a Type-75 certificate and that she gave up the right to revert to a tenured teacher position, and when she failed to obtain the Type-75 certificate, the decision of the board of education to dismiss her as an assistant principal and not allow her to return to her prior position as a tenured teacher was affirmed.

Elaine K.B. Siegel & Associates, P.C., of Chicago (Elaine K.B. Siegel, Jessica R. Hill, of counsel), for appellant.

Board of Education of City of Chicago Law Department, of Chicago (James L. Bebley, Lee Ann Lowder, Ann R. Slater, of counsel), for appellee.

JUSTICE MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Hyman and Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

MASON, JUSTICE

Page 84

[¶1] Plaintiff-appellant, Lillian Medina, appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County affirming a decision of the Board of Education of the City of Chicago removing her as an assistant principal. Medina was dismissed as an assistant principal because she lacked the required certification for that position. Medina claims that she was entitled to a tenured teacher dismissal hearing under section 34-85 of the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/34-85 (West 2010)), notwithstanding her administrative position, and that the Board acted ultra vires in dismissing her without a hearing pursuant to that section. Further, Medina claims that her lack of certification was remediable conduct, which could not serve as cause for her dismissal as a tenured teacher. We disagree and affirm.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] Medina started working as a teacher for the Board in 1984. In June 2007, Medina was nominated by the principal of Rachel Carson Elementary School for an assistant principal position and was hired in July of that year to fill the position.

[¶4] Medina holds elementary and secondary teaching certificates, which qualify her to teach kindergarten through twelfth grade. Her position as an assistant principal requires a Type-75 administrative certificate. When she accepted the position, she signed an " Assistant Principal Nomination Form," acknowledging that she was required to possess the Type-75 certificate. This form also contained the following statement above Medina's signature:

" I understand that by accepting this administrative appointment, I relinquish the right to bump back into a teaching position."

[¶5] Medina also signed a form titled " Proof of Illinois State Certification Acknowledge [sic] Form," which states: " I understand that the Chicago Public Schools principal/assistant principal assignment is solely contingent on my being issued a Type-75--General Administration Certificate by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) within three (3) months from the date of employment."

[¶6] Board Rule 4-3(a)(1)(a)(i)(2) lists the means by which a tenured teacher can lose the right to contractual continued service. In addition to honorable dismissal and dismissal for cause, the rule provides that loss of tenure is triggered by " the tenured teacher's resignation from his/her teacher position, which includes the tenured teacher's voluntary transfer from his/her teacher position to an educational support personnel employee, a certificated administrator, an ...


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