March 24, 2004
Ronald Duerring, Ed.D.
Kanawha County Schools
200 Elizabeth Street
Charleston, WV 25311-2119
Dear Dr. Duerring:
I am in receipt of your request for a Superintendent?s Interpretation regarding West
Virginia Code ? 18A-4-1(1), ?Years of experience.?
Specifically, you explain that Paul Moore, a music teacher in your county, has
requested that he be granted twenty-four years of teaching experience for pay purposes.
Mr. Moore served as a private instructor at a local music store from 1975 to the present.
A lesson record from the store indicates that Mr. Moore worked between 240 and 195 days annually in school years 1974-1975 through 2000-2001 and instructed between 204 and 42 students per year. Mr. Moore was already granted two years of teaching experience for 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 school years as he worked in excess of 133 days as a substitute teacher in Kanawha County. For each school year in question, Mr. Moore submitted documentation of the number of students he taught per week, the number of hours he taught per week, and the number of days taught per year.
West Virginia Code ? 18A-4-1(1) provides, in pertinent part:
? ?Years of experience? means the number of years the teacher has been employed in the teaching profession, including active work in educational positions other than the public schools . . .?
In interpreting this provision in Bright v. Tucker County Bd. of Educ., 399 S.E.2d
176, 184 W.Va. 33 (1990), the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed an
opinion of the Attorney General which stated:
"with respect to previous employment in Head Start Programs . . . this office cannot
categorically advise whether such employment is experience in the teaching
profession. School administrators must make a factual analysis of such
employment in each case.? 18 Op. Att'y Gen. 68 (1980).
In reaching the decision in the Bright case, the Court further provided that the the
factual analysis conducted by school administrators should seek to determine whether the previous nonpublic school employment substantially corresponds to one of the categories of "professional educator" set forth in West Virginia Code ? 18A-1-1. In the Bright case, this analysis included a consideration of whether the teacher in question had been assigned and performed the full range of responsibilities of a degreed teacher, such as the number of days worked, preparation of lesson plans, supervision of teachers aides and parent volunteers, etc.
The documentation provided fails to illuminate whether Mr. Moore?s past
employment meets this test. Should he wish for a different determination, Mr. Moore will
need to provide additional information to the county for a year by year analysis of the
Hoping that I have been of service, I am,
State Superintendent of Schools
cc: William H. Courtney, Kanawha County Schools