Request for An Administrative Certificate As a Secondary School Principal

In Davenport v. Department of Education, 850 A.2d 802 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004), the Court affirmed an order of the Secretary who had upheld a decision of the Department's Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation denying an applicant's request for an administrative certificate as a secondary principal. In reviewing Davenport's application the Bureau noted that she had three years of experience as a principal of a charter school in Philadelphia and two years experience as a Spanish teacher in Virginia. However, the Bureau determined that Davenport had only one year of certified professional experience while teaching in Virginia and that she worked as a principal upon receiving an emergency permit rather than under a professional certificate. Because Davenport did not perform under a state-issued certificate, the Bureau concluded that Davenport had failed to satisfy the requirement that applicants have five years of professional experience. Davenport argued to this Court that the applicable regulation found at 22 Pa. Code 49.121(a) included no requirement that an applicant must have experience working under a state-issued certificate. This Court referred to other regulations that defined the terms "professional duties" and "professional employe" as persons who have professional certification. Further, the Court noted, "the regulations at 22 Pa. Code 49.13 authorize the Department to 'issue administrative agency interpretive policies and directives relating to professional certification and staffing in the schools of this Commonwealth as may be necessary . . . ." Citing CSPG No. 9(4) and 9(2)(a), the Court noted that applicants for secondary school certificates must have at least three years of certified professional experience at the secondary or approved middle school level and also that uncertified service at such levels is not credible toward the requirements.