Educator License Discipline Overview

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 | 02:47pm
ELD Overview - 24

Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 49-1-302 gives the State Board the duty and power to "adopt rules and policies governing ... [the] discipline of licensed personnel for misconduct by formal reprimand or by the suspension and revocation of licenses and certificates." T.C.A. § 49-5-108 gives the State Board "[c]omplete jurisdiction over the issuance and administration of licenses . . . ." State Board of Education Rule 0520-02-03-.09 outlines reasons why applicants, teachers, or administrators may have applications denied, licenses formally reprimanded, suspended or revoked, or permits not re-issued.

License discipline cases are brought to the attention of the Board staff through four primary channels – Directors Reports, the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education Certification (NASDTEC), personal affirmations, and the Department of Human Services. Additionally, the Board has the authority to open cases for review that are brought to its attention through other channels such as media reports. Once the case is reported to Board staff, staff reviews the report to determine if the matter falls under the purview of State Board Rule 0520-02-03-.09. If the reported misconduct is subject to review under State Board Rule 0520-02-03-.09, the educator’s license file in TNCompass is placed under review. Educator licenses remain fully active during the time they are under review. Cases are “opened” to be placed under review on or about the first day of the month after they are reported. For example, if a case is reported on January 15th, it will be opened on or about February 1st.

There are several steps between placing a case under review and ultimately closing the case. The time to conclude each case varies depending on the underlying cause of the review. For example, some cases take significantly longer to conclude, such as reviews triggered by underlying law enforcement or DCS investigations.

Reports are made in TNCompass, the online educator talent management system that collects and stores educator information such as licensure, evaluations, and discipline. Once a case is reported in TNCompass and placed under review by the State Board Educator License Discipline (ELD) team, the team works diligently to review all submitted information. It is imperative that all relevant and available information be submitted with each report, including witness statements, video or audio recordings, text messages, and electronic records. Importantly, Rule 0520-02-03-.09(2) provides “schools and school systems have a duty to respond to State Board inquiries and provide to the State Board, except when prohibited by law, any available documentation requested concerning the allegations.”

After all available information is gathered by the ELD team, the case is presented to the State Board staff case review committee. This committee meets monthly and is composed of the SBE Executive Director, General Counsel, and other staff members. During this attorney-client privileged meeting, the committee reviews every case presented to it and makes a recommendation in consideration of the facts of the case, applicable rule, and range of discipline permitted by rule. If license action is recommended, the educator will receive a Notice of Proposed Action (NPA) at the mailing address they have listed in TNCompass.

If an educator receives an NPA, they are presented with all due process rights available to them to proceed with the case. If the case review committee determines no action is warranted, then the review will be cleared in TNCompass.

To learn more about educator license discipline, please visit our website where you will find additional resources, including reporting resources for Directors of Schools, and the Board Rules and Policies pertaining to educator license discipline. Additionally, if you have further questions, you can contact the ELD Team at