State credential of Woodland Hills principal in question
The administrative certification for Woodland Hills High School’s embattled principal could be in jeopardy, and it is that document that allows him to be a building principal.
The status of Kevin Murray’s administrative certification — Administrative I Principal Pk-12 (1115) — has lapsed, according to public records available through the Pennsylvania Department of Education online Teacher Information Management System.
His credentials were issued on February 1, 2012, according to records.
Administrative I credentials are valid for five service years. Credentials could be valid longer in the event an educator is not working in a position that requires them, according to Casey Smith, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
If an Administrative I credential lapses, the educator is deemed ineligible and cannot renew it, according to Education Department policy. The educator, however, can pursue a new Administrative II credential.
It is the responsibility of teachers and administrators to monitor the status of credentials, said Smith, who could not comment on specific cases.
Attorney Phil DiLucente said Murray — his client — is pursuing an Administrative I Principal Pk-12 credential. The lapse is not the result of a denial of credentials, just a delay, DiLucente said.
Woodland Hills Superintendent Alan Johnson could not be reached for comment.
Tara Reis, school board president, said Murray has at least a level-one certification and is not losing his job.
Murray completed three years as principal at the close of the 2016-17 school year, according to Reis. He previously served as assistant principal and dean of students.
“It is not uncommon or unusual to have certification delayed when a person such as Principal Murray has his teacher certificate as well as being a principal of a school district,” DiLucente said in a statement. “I have spoken with the Department of Education today (Thursday), and the investigation is proceeding accordingly as to character fitness and it is our impression he will be approved in the upcoming weeks.”
Murray was placed on administrative leave Nov. 30 after an audio tape of him threatening a special-education student surfaced. He did not report to school for about six weeks. The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office investigated but did not recommend criminal charges against Murray.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.