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1 N.J.A.R. 175

Richardson, Hazel & Anderson, Deborah L. v. Galloway, Atlantic County, Board of Education of the Township of
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Citation: 1 N.J.A.R. 175
Decision Date: 1979
Agency: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Synopsis: Richardson and Anderson are two nontenured teachers who, despite the recommendations of their principals, were not reemployed by the Board of Education after three consecutive years of academic service. Both petitioners requested and received a written statement of reasons from the Board as to why they were not reemployed. The petitioners asserted that the reasons given them for not being reemployed were so vague and Ed. of North Wildwood, 65 N.J. '.236 (1974). The administrative law judge found that the reason given by the Board for not reemploying Richardsc,n was that although her evaluations did demonstrate competence, the overall evaluation did not meet the highest standards demonstrated by other teachers under consideration for tenure. The judge found that this reasoning was based on a purely numeric calculation of the number of evaluative categories checked 'strong' or 'average' made by different evaluators on different forms and ignored recommendations from Richard:soWs principal and superintendent that she be rehired. Under these circumstances, the judge concluded that Richardson's dismissal had been arbitrary and unreasonable. As to Anderson, the administrative law judge found that her termination was due to the fact that she responded in writing to the constructive criticism of her superiors contained or her evaluation form. The judge noted that the Board's own evaluation form contained a section for teachers' comments and that any comments made by Anderson were simply a professional view of her lessons and their presentation. The administrative law judge concluded that a termination based on such reasoning was arbitrary and unreasonable, since it was based on nothing more than fears or conjecture that the teacher could not accept constructive criticism. Accordingly, the Board was ordered to reemploy both petitioners with mitigated back pay. Joel S. Selikoff, Esq., for Petitioners (Steven R. Cohen, Esq., of Counsel) James P. Granello, Esq., for Respondent (Murray, Granello & Kenney, Attorneys)