Standards commission reprimands educators for contract violations

Idaho’s Professional Standards Commission (PSC) took action Thursday against two teachers who violated the state’s Code of Ethics for public educators.

The standards commission is an 18-member volunteer board made up of teachers, school administrators and higher education officials, who have the authority to approve, suspend and revoke teaching and administrative licenses in Idaho.

The commission approved reprimands for two teachers.

Below are summaries of the complaints against the educators and the board’s disciplinary decisions, according to public records and meeting procedures. A third consideration was delayed because of a misfiled report.

Justin B. Mills — Gooding Joint School District

Mills, who holds a standard instructional K-8 certificate, entered a contract with the Gooding Joint School District to serve as a special education teacher for the 2022-2023 school year. Mills subsequently refused to work for the district after Sept. 28. The educator asserted that state changes to IEP software required extra work, which exceeded his contractually-set hours.

While Mills did not feel that declining to work violated his contract, the school board disagreed and refused to release Mills from his obligation to teach special education.

The standards commission executive committee issued Mills a letter of reprimand — a written notice indicating that certain behaviors are prohibited, and future misconduct could result in stronger penalties. The letter will be placed in Mills’ certification file.

Jillian Ray — Gooding Joint School District

Ray, who holds a standard instructional K-8 certificate, entered a contract with the Kuna School District to serve as a school nurse for the 2022-2023 school year on Sept. 29. On Dec. 13, Ray emailed the school administrator and resigned from the position. Because the school needed a nurse, the school board met and did not accept her resignation on Jan. 13.

When Ray refused to report for work, the standards commission executive committee initiated an administrative action against her. Ray received a letter of reprimand from the PSC.

Future considerations

The PSC will likely consider penalties for more ethics violations at its next meeting. According to a records request obtained by Idaho EdNews, these ethics violations include: 

  • Felony sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16
  • Felony aggravated assault
  • Infliction of great bodily injury

The PSC’s next meeting will likely take place in September. 

EdNews data analyst Randy Schrader contributed to this story. 

Matt Denis

Matt Denis

Reporter Matt Denis is based in the Treasure Valley and has served as an educator and a journalist. Prior to national digital reporting and founding an arts and culture section in Eugene, Oregon, Matt worked as an English and history teacher in Detroit, San Diego, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can send news tips to [email protected].

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday