Joyner NCAE amicus brief

FIRST DISTRICT No. COA 13-446 NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS ************************************ VANESSA B. JOYNER,...

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FIRST DISTRICT

No. COA 13-446

NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS ************************************

VANESSA B. JOYNER, Petitioner-Appellee,

) ) PERQUIMANS COUNTY BOARD ) ) OF EDUCATION, Respondent-Appellant. ) v.

From Perquimans County No. 12 CVS 103

***************************************************

PROPOSED BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE NORTH CAROLINA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERAPPELLEE *************************************************** INDEX TABLE OF CASES AND AUTHORITIES

iii

QUESTION PRESENTED

2

ARGUMENT

2

THE BOARD DEPRIVED MS. JOYNER OF HER DUE I. PROCESS RIGHT TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF THE REASONS 2 FOR ITS DECISION TO DENY HER CAREER STATUS Ms. Joyner was entitled to a minimum constitutional due A. process right to notice of the Board's reasons for its decision 2 The superintendent's letter informing Ms. Joyner of the B. Board's initial vote denying her career status was cursory and failed to provide her any notice of the reasons for the Board's 7 action II.

THE BOARD FAILED TO MEET ITS OBLIGATION TO

11

ENSURE THE HEARING IT GRANTED WAS FAIR AND PROPER AND PROVIDED MS. JOYNER DUE PROCESS 8 A. Once the Board granted Ms. Joyner a hearing, it had the duty to ensure proper processes were followed for a fair hearing. 8 The Board failed to fulfill its duty to ensure the hearing B. 10 gave Ms. Joyner due process of law. The Board and its attorney exceeded their proper role in C. the adjudicatory hearing by seeking evidence to support a 12 nonrenewal vote CONCLUSION

16

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE

17

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

18

111

TABLE OF CASES AND AUTHORITIES CASES Abell v. Nash County Bd. of Educ., 71 N.C. App. 48, 321 S.E.2d 502 (1984) 12 Alexander v. Cumberland County Bd. of Educ., 171 N.C. App. 649, 615 5 S.E.2d 408 (2005) Bd. of Regents of State Coils. v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564 (1972) Crump v. Bd. of Educ., 326 N.C. 603, 392 S.E.2d 579 (1990)

3, 4 8,9, 13

Evers v. Fender County Bd. of Educ., 104 N.C. App. 1, 407 S.E.2d 879 10 (1991) Farris v. Burke County Bd. of Educ., 355 N.C. 225, 559 S.E.2d 774 (2002) 8 Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 576 (1975)

3,4, 5

Hope v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Ethic., 110 N.C. App. 599, 430 15 S.E.2d 472 (1993) Leiphart v. N.C. Sch. of the Arts, 80 N.C. App. 339, 342 S.E.2d 914 (1986) 3 Peace v. Employment Sec. Comm 'n of N.C., 349 N.C. 315, 507 S.E.2d 272 2,3 (1998) Woods v. City of Wilmington, 125 N.C. App. 226, 480 S.E.2d 429 (1997) ... 3

STATUTES N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(a)(5)

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N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(c)

3

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(c)(1)

9

iv N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(e)

3

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(h)

3

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)

5, 9

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(2)

4, 7, 9

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(3)

6

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(4)

6, 9

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(6)

9

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(n)

4,5

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-390.1(b)(12)

5

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-390.6(a)

5

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-45(c)

6, 8, 9, 12

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-47(2)

9

OTHER AUTHORITIES N.C. 2008 Formal Ethics Op 2

15

N.C. Rules of Profl Conduct 3.4

14

No. COA 13-446

FIRST DISTRICT

NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS ************************************

VANESSA B. JOYNER, Petitioner-Appellee,

) )

V.

) ) PERQUIMANS COUNTY BOARD ) OF EDUCATION, Respondent-Appellant.

From Perquimans County No. 12 CVS 103

***************************************************

PROPOSED BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE NORTH CAROLINA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERAPPELLEE ***************************************************

Pursuant to Rule 28(1) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure, the North Carolina Association of Educators submits this proposed brief as amicus curiae, along with its Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief, in support of the Petitioner-Appellee, Vanessa B. Joyner. After successfully teaching for Perquimans County Schools for four consecutive years, Ms. Joyner was eligible for career status. Despite the positive recommendation of Ms. Joyner's principal and her superintendent, RespondentAppellant, the Perquimans County Board of Education ("Board"), voted to deny

-2her career status. The Board impermissibly made its decision based on the bias of one of its members, for arbitrary and capricious reasons, and without substantial evidence, as found by the superior court's November 9, 2012 order. Additionally, the Board failed to follow lawful procedure in its hearing and decision-making process, prejudicing Ms. Joyner and depriving her of due process. QUESTION PRESENTED IN ADDITION TO FINDING THAT THE BOARD'S DECISION WAS NOT BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE OR LAWFUL REASONS, SHOULD THE SUPERIOR COURT'S ORDER REVERSING THE BOARD'S DECISION ALSO BE AFFIRMED ON THE BASIS THAT THE BOARD FAILED TO FOLLOW FAIR AND LAWFUL PROCEDURE? ARGUMENT I. THE BOARD DEPRIVED MS. JOYNER OF HER DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF THE REASONS FOR ITS DECISION TO DENY HER CAREER STATUS. Ms. Joyner was entitled to a minimum constitutional due process right A. to notice of the Board's reasons for its decision. "Procedural due process restricts governmental actions and decisions which 'deprive individuals of "liberty" or "property" interests within the meaning of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth or Fourteenth Amendment." Peace v. Employment Sec. Comm'n of NC., 349 N.C. 315, 507 S.E.2d 272 (1998) (quoting Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 332 (1976)). The "law of the land" clause in Article I, Section 19 of the North Carolina Constitution is synonymous with the Fourteenth

-3Amendment. Woods v. City of Wilmington, 125 N.C. App. 226, 230, 480 S.E.2d 429, 432 (1997). Property interests are created and defined "by existing rules or understandings that stem from an independent source such as state law-rules or understandings that secure certain benefits and that support claims of entitlement to those benefits." Bd. of Regents of State Coils. v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 577 (1972); see also Peace, 349 N.C. at 321, 507 S.E.2d at 277. Employees have a protected property interest in continued employment if they "can show a legitimate claim to continued employment under a contract, a state statute or a local ordinance." Peace, 349 N.C. at 321, 507 S.E.2d at 277. Even a minimal deprivation of property or liberty interest implicates constitutional due process protections. See Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 576 (1975). In North Carolina, a teacher who has worked for a school district for four consecutive years is eligible for career status. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(c). Career status teachers may only be dismissed for certain enumerated reasons and are entitled to due process protections that include notice and detailed procedural rights. § 115C-325(e), (h); see Peace, 349 N.C. at 321, 507 S.E.2d at 277; Leiphart v. N.C. Sc/i. of the Arts, 80 N.C. App. 339, 349, 342 S.E.2d 914, 921-22 (1986). While not as extensive, North Carolina law also establishes rights at the time of consideration of renewing contracts and granting career status. In contrast to at-will employment or common law contracts, a school board may decide to not

-4renew a probationary teacher only after establishing a basis that is not arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, personal or political.

§ 115C-325(a)(5), (m)(2).

Further, state law grants a probationary teacher whose contract is not renewed a right to appeal the decision to superior court. § I 15C-325(n). These rights to not be nonrenewed for certain reasons and to appeal a nonrenewal decision create an interest in continued employment and implicate due process protections. Cf: Bd. of Regents of State Colls., 408 U.S. at 566-67 (assistant professor completing oneyear employment contract did not have a property interest implicated because there were "no statutory or administrative standards defining eligibility for reemployment," leaving officials "unfettered discretion" whether to rehire a nontenured teacher for another year and regulations provided no review or appeal). Ms. Joyner's interest in continued employment based on the statute is beyond de minimis, and its gravity is irrelevant to the question of whether constitutional due process protections are implicated. See Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 576 (1975). Although Ms. Joyner did not yet have career status entitling her to fuller constitutional due process protections, she should have been entitled to a minimum due process right consisting of notice of the Board's reasons to deny her career status. A student receiving a short-term suspension of even a few days is entitled to effective notice of the charges and an informal opportunity to be heard. These rudimentary precautions protect against unfair or mistaken findings of

-5misconduct. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 115C-390.1(b)(12), -390.6(a); see Goss, 419 U.S. at 581-84; Alexander v. Cumberland County Bd. of Educ., 171 N.C. App. 649, 657, 615 5.E.2d 408, 414 (2005). Here, a teacher at risk of losing her position and of being denied career status has at least a minimum property interest entitling her to minimum due process protections, such as notice of reasons, which allows her the opportunity to request a hearing under § 1 I5C-325(m) and appeal pursuant to § 115C-325(n). Without notice of the board's reasons for denying career status, a teacher has no way to determine whether the board's reasons were improper. Such a teacher would therefore not have reason to know whether to appeal the decision and request a hearing or seek judicial review. The right to notice is even more critical in a teacher's career status year, where it is not just a decision to continue employment for another year but is a substantial decision on whether to grant her career status. Further, this right to notice before a board dismisses or does not renew an employee is well-established in North Carolina and is statutorily provided to almost all other groups of public school employees. Any probationary teacher being recommended for nonrenewal by the superintendent has a right to written notice of the reasons. § 115C-325(m)(2). A school administrator has a right to written notice of the superintendent's reasons if the superintendent does not

-6recommend a new, renewed, or extended contract. § 115C-287.1(d). Further, any noncertified employee may request and is entitled to receive written notice of reasons for dismissal, demotion, or suspension without pay before a board hearing is held. § 115C-45(c). The constitutional due process requirement of notice of reasons, although not contained in the statute for Ms. Joyner's specific situation, must be followed by boards. Ms. Joyner would be entitled to a statutory right to request and receive written notice of the reasons for nonrenewal under § 115C-325(m)(3) if the superintendent had not supported her and had recommended she be nonrenewed. She also would have been entitled to receive the information the superintendent may share with board to support that recommendation and a right to a hearing under (m)(4). Ms. Joyner should not be deprived of the right to notice of the reasons for nonrenewal solely because she had the support of the superintendent and the Board rejected the superintendent's recommendation. If Ms. Joyner was not provided this minimum constitutional due process right supplementing the statutory framework, she would be in a small class of public school employees deprived of notice before the Board ended their employment. This could also create an unjust opportunity for boards to circumvent the notice and hearing rights by simply denying renewal or career status when the superintendent supported the teacher.

-7This notice is more important in a situation where the board rejects a superintendent's renewal recommendation.

The teacher's interest in the

nonrenewal reasons is greater, given the disagreement between the superintendent and the board, and the teacher's need to ensure that the board's reasons are proper. Here, the Board did not have recommended nonrenewal reasons from the superintendent, making its own reasons for the nonrenewal even more critical. B. The superintendent's letter informing Ms. Joyner of the Board's initial vote denying her career status was cursory and failed to provide her any notice of the reasons for the Board's action. The superintendent recommended Ms. Joyner for career status. (R p 34). She received no notice before the Board's May 14, 2012 vote denying her career status and would have had no reason to suspect the Board would deny her career status. She next received a cursory one-sentence letter from the superintendent dated May 15, 2012 simply stating that "[i]n a special session on Monday, May 14, 2012, the [Board] voted against granting you career status." (R p 38). This letter failed to provide her any notice of the reasons for the Board's decision denying her career status. The letter gave no indication whether the Board's reasons were improper under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(2) such that she had grounds to appeal and seek judicial review. Ms. Joyner then requested a formal hearing and all evidence used to decide to deny her tenure. (R p 39). Ms. Joyner received a May 22 notice that the Board

-8granted her a hearing and that it would provide her with the requested documents "as required by State Law." (R p 40). As discussed infra, the Board was obligated to follow procedural requirements for the hearing it granted Ms. Joyner. These procedural requirements included the duty to see that a proper notice was given to all parties. § Il5C-45(c). The superintendent's May 15 and May 22 letters failed to provide Ms. Joyner any notice of the Board's reasons for its initial decision denying her career status such that she could prepare for the hearing. Ms. Joyner not having notice of the Board's reasons to deny her career status was severely prejudiced in her ability to prepare for hearing, as well as to obtain a fair hearing. II. THE BOARD FAILED TO MEET ITS OBLIGATION TO ENSURE THE HEARING IT GRANTED WAS FAIR AND PROPER AND PROVIDED MS. JOYNER DUE PROCESS. A. Once the Board granted Ms. Joyner a hearing, it had the duty to ensure proper processes were followed for a fair hearing. In cases where a teacher may lose employment, "it is fundamental to the concept of due process that the deliberative body give that person's case fair and open-minded consideration." Farris v. Burke County Bd. of Educ., 355 N.C. 225, 240, 559 S.E.2d 774, 783 (2002) (quoting Crump v. Bd. of Educ., 326 N.C. 603, 613, 392 S.E.2d 579, 584 (1990)). In a quasi-judicial hearing and decision-making by a deliberative body, a fundamental notion is that "each member will enter the

-9hearing with an open mind, listen to and view the evidence, share his or her observations, analyses and opinions with the other board members, listen to the other members' comments, and only then finally commit to a vote." Crump, 326 N.C. at 619-20, 392 S.E.2d at 587-88. If Ms. Joyner's principal and superintendent did not recommend her for career status, she would have had a right to a Board hearing pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § I 15C-325(m)(4). The Board granted her request for a hearing it maintains was discretionary. The Board was required to follow proper procedure in conducting the hearing once it was granted. Pursuant to § 115C-325(m)(6), any hearing held according to § I 15C-325(m) (governing dismissal and nonrenewal of probationary teachers) must be held pursuant to § 115C-45(c) based on the board's duty in § I 15C-47(2). This section includes § 115C-325(m)(2) specifying that boards can refuse to renew probationary teachers for any reason that is not one of the enumerated unlawful causes. Ffere, the Board acted under § 115C-325(m)(2) in voting to not renew Ms. Joyner's contract and thereby deny her career status. (R p 97).1 Therefore, regardless of whether the grant of the hearing was discretionary,

The Board's footnoted argument that the superior court lacked subject matter jurisdiction should be disregarded. The Board noted in its own decision that it acted pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(2) to not renew Ms. Joyner's probationary contract. (R p 97). The Board now trying to argue that it was only acting pursuant to § 115C-325(c)(1) is an insufficient attempt to insulate the Board's decision from judicial review. The Board acted pursuant to both

-10the Board was obligated to follow all procedures ensuring Ms. Joyner's hearing was a fair process. The fairness of the hearing process is especially important where, as here, the Board was granting a hearing in an attempt to cure the bias and errors from its initial vote. Further, the Board hearing was not simply a discretionary hearing regarding renewal of a probationary teacher not eligible for career status. Rather, it was a hearing on the critical decision of whether to grant Ms. Joyner career status. B. The Board failed to fulfill its duty to ensure the hearing gave Ms. Joyner due process of law. The Board's hearing and decision-making process did not provide Ms. Joyner a fair opportunity to present her case to impartial board members. This Court has held that evidence in a teacher dismissal hearing is competent and may be admitted into evidence if it "can be said to be of a kind commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of serious affairs." Evers v. Pender County Bd. of Educ., 104 N.C. App. 1, 19, 407 S.E.2d 879, 889 (1991) aff'd, 331 N.C. 380, 416 S.E.2d 3 (1992). The Board's consideration of comments by Board Member Ralph Hollowell was improper and severely prejudiced Ms. Joyner. In its May 14 closed session without Ms. Joyner present, the Board heard vague

subsections (c)(1) and (m)(2) in voting to not renew Ms. Joyner's contract and thereby deny her career status, thus making her appeal to superior court proper under subsection (n).

-11statements from Mr. Hollowell to support the Board denying Ms. Joyner career status. (R p 34). These statements constituted hearsay and were so vague that Ms. Joyner could not have responded to the alleged statements in her hearing. Further, Mr. Hollowell also explained his own limited, unscientific investigation of Ms. Joyner when he allegedly substituted in the school and timed Ms. Joyner taking her students for exceptional children's services. (R p 34). After Mr. Hollowell shared his observations with the Board at the closed session, Ms. Joyner never had an opportunity to clarify what Mr. Hollowell may have observed, such that she could have explained her actions. (R pp 60-63). The only indication regarding what documents Ms. Joyner was provided pursuant to her request is the superintendent's supplemental affidavit, certifying that she was provided personnel summary reports provided to the Board, minutes of the Board's May 14 closed session, and "a complete copy of her personnel file and minutes from other meetings as she requested." (R pp 31-37; 101-02). The record fails to indicate when she was provided the documents. As discussed more below, the Board's attorney read selected excerpts from documents that were not in Ms. Joyner's personnel file and therefore not in the documents she received in response to her request for documents prior to the hearing. (R pp 105-07). It is clear that Ms. Joyner was not provided all the information she requested before the

-12hearing, as these were additional documents used to decide to deny her career status. The Board also did not have access to all the evidence during and after the hearing, including evidence that would have supported granting Ms. Joyner career status. The Board had a duty to see that a record of the hearing was properly entered. § 115C-45(c). When a board decides not to renew a probationary teacher's contract, "the board's records should reflect the specific substantive reason for the non-renewal of [the] contract." Abell v. Nash County Bd. of Educ., 71 N.C. App. 48, 54, 321 S.E.2d 502, 507 (1984). The Board's record of Ms. Joyner's hearing was insufficient to fulfill its statutory duties. The record before the Court now is unclear as to what documents and evidence were before the Board during the hearing and decision-making process. The superintendent certified that the Board did not have any documents in its consideration of Ms. Joyner's employment beyond what is contained in this case's record. (R p 102). The Board was not provided a copy of Ms. Joyner's personnel file. The Board also did not have an opportunity to review the documents its own attorney used to crossexamine Ms. Joyner. (R pp 101-02; 105-07). The Board and its attorney exceeded their proper role in the C. adjudicatory hearing by seeking evidence to support a nonrenewal vote.

-13While courts routinely have recognized that local boards serve multiple roles (e.g., Crump, 326 N.C. at 617, 392 S.E.2d at 586), this does not excuse the board from its responsibility to provide a fair hearing. In the May 29 hearing, with the assistance of its attorney, the Board sought evidence to support its initial decision denying Ms. Joyner career status, rather than considering all evidence for and against such a decision. Prior to the hearing, the Board's attorney, John Leidy, counseled the Board to ask about evidence that would support its initial determination to deny career status, including complaints Board members may have heard in the community, action plans, and detractors. (R pp 47-48). Mr. Leidy stated that these were the kinds of things he wanted to make sure there was discussion and evidence about "particularly if the Board is going to decide not to renew her." He even noted that he was prepared to ask Ms. Joyner questions if he felt some issues needed to be developed. (R p 48). At the hearing, Mr. Leidy asked Ms. Joyner questions to develop evidence he felt needed to be on the record to support nonrenewal. (R pp 47-48, 79-90). He used leading and narrow questions, in the manner of a cross-examination of Ms. Joyner. This resulted in incomplete answers that misled the Board without Ms. Joyner having an opportunity to expand her answers or explain the documents Mr. Leidy used to cross-examine her. In doing so, Mr. Leidy was not assisting the

-14Board in providing Ms. Joyner a fair hearing or advising the Board to seek full, unbiased information from Ms. Joyner. In his questioning of Ms. Joyner, Mr. Leidy read from or referred to limited portions of documents. (R pp 79-90). He did not share these documents with the Board or include them in the record. Some of the documents were never placed in Ms. Joyner's personnel file and were not produced to her in response to her prehearing request for all documents used to support the Board's decision. (R pp 39; 101-02; 105-07). This prejudiced her ability to fairly present her side to the Board. For example, she was unable to give context to comments in a midyear observation, explain how she incorporated feedback to improve, or even discuss her performance at the end of that year. (R pp 79-80). She was also unable to explain her answer that she had a panic attack or discuss her performance on the "plan of action," which she had already noted was a professional development plan. (R pp 74; 81-83). The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit an attorney from knowingly disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal or advising a client to do so. N.C. Rules of Profl Conduct 3.4. Mr. Leidy stepped into a role of a prosecutor instead of advising and assisting the Board in giving Ms. Joyner a full and fair hearing. Having one attorney appear to serve as both a prosecutor and advisor undermines basic notions of fairness. With an unrepresented party, this raises even

-15greater objections as an employee could not be expected to know how to respond to cross-examination or the failure to enter a full document into the record. The State Bar has strongly discouraged a law firm from providing dual representation in a hearing by having one attorney represent the administration's position while another attorney in the same law firm advises the school board, as it can undermine the public's confidence in the fairness of the proceeding. N.C. 2008 Formal Ethics Op. 2. Mr. Leidy acted in the role of the Board's attorney while also seeking evidence against Ms. Joyner in the same adjudicatory hearing. In a case predating the ethics opinion, this Court noted that an administrative tribunal acting as both investigator and adjudicator would not rise to a per se due process violation. Hope v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ., 110 N.C. App. 599, 603-04, 430 S.E.2d 472, 474-75, (1993). In contrast, Mr. Leidy was not just investigating all facts to present to the Board but was advocating for the nonrenewal vote by seeking specific facts. Whether this Court deems it a per se violation to serve in both roles or not, a violation can be shown by actual bias or unfair prejudice. Id. In the facts of this case, Mr. Leidy's roles in the hearing did exactly what concerned the State Bar of undermining the integrity and fairness of the process. The Board had been infiltrated with bias from Mr. Hollowell's comments during the initial vote and then did not give full consideration to all the evidence,

-16including evidence supportive of Ms. Joyner and her performance. The Board failed to provide Ms. Joyner with a fair hearing and decision-making process, and its decision after the hearing remained arbitrary and capricious. CONCLUSION For the above reasons, amicus respectfully requests that this Court affirm the superior court's decision. Respectfully submitted this Mr\day of June, 2013. NORTH CAROLINA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS

Ann McC 11, General Counsel N.C. Bar No. 18304 [email protected]

kQ Carrie Buingardner, Staff A t-t'orney N.C. Bar No. 40117 [email protected] North Carolina Association of Educators P.O. Box 27347 Raleigh, NC 27611 Telephone: (919) 755-5553 Attorneys for Amicus North Carolina Association of Educators

-17CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE Pursuant to Rule 28(j) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure, I certify that the attached brief was prepared in proportionally spaced Times New Roman type in 14-point font, and that the brief, excluding the cover, index, table of authorities, certificate of service, and certificate of compliance, contains less than 3,750 words, as reported by the word processing software used to prepare it. This the \C

day ofJune, 2013.

Carrie Bumgardner, Sta Attorney N.C. Bar No. 40117 North Carolina Association of Educators P.O. Box 27347 Raleigh, NC 27611 Telephone: (919) 755-5586 [email protected]

-18CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE The undersigned hereby certifies that she served a copy of the foregoing on all counsel and parties of record by depositing a copy, contained in a first-class envelope, postage pre-paid, into a depository under the exclusive care and custody of the United States Postal Service, addressed as follows:

Mary-Ann Leon The Leon Law Firm, P.C. P.O. Box 20338 Greenville, NC 27858 Attorney for Petitioner-Appellee

John D. Leidy L.P. Homthal, Jr. Hornthal, Riley, Ellis & Maland, L.L.P. 301 E. Main St. Elizabeth City, NC 27909 Attorneys for Respondent-Appellant

Deborah R. Stagner Tharrington Smith, L.L.P. P.O. Box 1151 Raleigh, NC 27602 Attorney for Respondent-Appellant

Allison B. Schafer Christine T. Scheef North Carolina School Boards Association P.O. Box 97877 Raleigh, NC 27624 Attorneys for Amicus Curiae North Carolina School Boards Association

-19-

This the \day of June, 2013.

' •

g

Carrie Bumgardner, Staff "6 ttomey N.C. Bar No. 40117 North Carolina Association of Educators P.O. Box 27347 Raleigh, NC 27611 Telephone: (919) 755-5586 [email protected]