MDE Cautions Schools about Administrator Certification Requirements

In a memorandum dated July 10, 2014, the Michigan Department of Education (“MDE”) expressed concern that some schools are circumventing the certification requirements of sections 1246 and 1536 of the Revised School Code by hiring or contracting with “temporary” or “interim” school administrators.

Section 1246 of the Revised School Code prohibits a school district, academy, or intermediate school district from continuing to employ a person as a superintendent, principal, assis­tant principal, or other person whose primary responsi­bility is administering instructional programs or as a chief business official (collectively “School Administra­tor”), unless the person: (1) was first employed as a School Administrator in Michigan before January 1, 2010 and the person completed the continuing education requirements prescribed by the Superintendent of Pub­lic Instruction or holds an administrator’s certificate; or (2) possesses a valid Michigan school administrator’s certificate or is enrolled in a program that will lead to school administrator certification not later than six months after beginning employment.

During routine auditing, the MDE’s Office of Pro­fessional Preparation Services noticed that some schools were hiring uncertificated “temporary” or “in­terim” School Administrators and removing them after six months. Those School Administrators were then rehired within the same or a separate district, academy, or intermediate school district to begin another temporary period of employ­ment. The MDE voiced its strong objection to this prac­tice, which it characterizes as “not meet[ing] the intent of the law.” MDE admonished that “[r]estarting a con­tract or employment date does not reset the six month time limit [under section 1246].”

In the upcoming months, MDE will continue to au­dit schools to ensure that School Administrators satisfy certification requirements. School officials are encour­aged to ensure that their School Administrators have met (or are on track to timely meet) job qualifications.