Teachers, Administrators & Faculty

  • Texas Educators and Administrators
  • Teacher Misconduct, Discipline, and Certification
  • Due Process for Teachers and Mandatory Reporting
  • College Professors- Pre-Tenure Review and Tenure Denials
  • College Professors -Tenure and Promotion Appeals Process
  • Exhaust Administrative Remedies


Under Texas Law, the term “teacher” means a Principal, Supervisor, Classroom Teacher, School Counselor, School Nurse or any other full-time professional employee who is required to hold a certificate issued by the State Board for Educator Certification.
Teachers were once considered the best and brightest in our communities and were celebrated as the ushers and mentors to a new generation. Now sadly, public opinion has changed. With the dramatic change in the past decade, budget cuts and negative press reports about teacher misconducts, teachers are starting to feel the squeeze and aggressive stance towards their jobs as a whole.
Our firm understands roles that teachers play in equipping the current generation to blossom into contributing adults of society. We are cognizant of the tribulation that teachers face today and respect the hard work teachers put in day and night to make a successful classroom.
Texas public teachers have certain constitutional rights and because Texas public schools are public entities there are certain constitutional restrictions in place that limit state actions against employees of a public school. Some of these constitutional protections are the right to due process i.e. the right to receive a notice of termination and a hearing to decide the validity of a case brought against them, protection arbitrary dismissal because of personal or political reasons, protection from irrational punishments, such as salary reduction and demotion.

Texas Educators and Administrators

Texas educators are entitled to some level of due process before they can be fired. The level of due process that an educator is entitled to is determined by the type of contract that the educator has with the school district.
There are three types of teacher contracts in the state of Texas:
  • Probationary Contract
  • Term Contract
  • Continuing Contract

Probationary Contracts

A teacher is employed under a probationary contract if the teacher is brand-new, new to a district, or was previously employed by a district and returns to the district after a two-year lapse. However, a district may choose to employ an experienced teacher or principal on a term contract. A probationary contract can run up to four years but at the end of the fourth year, the school district has to terminate the teacher or convert the teacher to a term or continuing contract.
A probationary contract teacher is entitled to most of the rights and privileges of employment that term or continuing teachers have i.e. state minimum salary schedule, duty-free lunch, personal leave days, planning and prep time, right to resign without board approval if done in writing at least 45 days before the first day of instruction etc.
A probationary contract teacher can be proposed for termination during the contract term for good cause or as a result of reduction in force. If a probationary contract teacher is proposed for termination during the contract term, the teacher is entitled to the same type of Subchapter F proceeding that the continuing and term contract teacher gets i.e. request a hearing before an independent hearing officer. The probationary teacher must make the request for hearing to the commissioner of education within 15 days. If the proposed termination is due to a declared financial exigency, the district must apply the procedures applicable to end-of-term discharge.
Unlike a term or continuing contract teacher, a probationary contract teacher who is discharged at the end of the term cannot appeal the decision to the local board. That decision is final. The probationary contract teacher does not have the right of appeal to the local board as term or continuing contract teachers have. The district must however inform the teacher of the intention to non-renew the teacher at least 10days before the last day of instruction. If the school district fails to notify the teacher within the 10days, the teacher’s probationary is automatically renewed.
A probationary contract teacher may only challenge the termination of an end-of-term probationary contract by filing a grievance if the district failed to follow proper procedure (as set out in state law or the district’s own policy), or the dismissal was for an improper reason.

Continuing Contracts

A continuing contract has an indefinite duration and ceases only if the employee resigns, retires, or is lawfully dismissed. A continuing contract is very similar to a tenured position. Continuing contracts are the rarest form of teacher contracts in Texas.
A teacher with a continuing contract can only be dismissed during the contract term and for good cause as determined by the district. The teacher so dismissed is entitled to a fair, impartial hearing before an independent hearing examiner. This type of hearing is commonly referred to as a “Subchapter F” hearing, referring to Chapter 21, subchapter F of the Texas Education Code.

Term Contracts

A term contract is contract set for a definite amount of time, usually one or two years. A term contract may not exceed five school years and is the most widely used form of contract for experienced teachers. A term contract is renewed by the local school board.
A teacher with a term contract can be terminated during the contract term for good cause as determined by the school district or as a result of a reduction of personnel.
If a term contract teacher is proposed for termination during the contract term, the teacher is entitled to the same type of Subchapter F proceeding that the continuing contract teacher gets i.e. request a hearing before an independent hearing officer. If the termination is due to a declared financial exigency, the district must apply the procedures applicable to end-of-term discharge.
If a term contract teacher is proposed for nonrenewal at the end of the contract term, the teacher is entitled to written notice from the school district’s Board of Trustees of the proposed nonrenewal at least 10 days before the last day of instruction. If the board does not timely provide this notice, the teacher’s contract is automatically renewed for the next school year. Upon receipt of the notice, the term contract teacher has 15 days to request a hearing concerning the nonrenewal.

Teacher Misconduct, Discipline, and Certification

Because of the unique position a teacher holds, teachers could be accused of violating the Texas Educators Code of Conduct for conducts that did not even take place on school grounds or for conducts unrelated to students. Violating the Texas Educators Code of Conduct could lead to the suspension or a revocation of the teacher’s license to teach. Therefore, not only can a teacher face disciplinary actions for job related issues, a teacher can also face disciplinary action for certain personal and family issues thereby subjecting the teacher to administrative, civil and criminal liability all at once.

Once the school district becomes aware of the violation, the school district places the teacher on administrative leave and makes a mandatory report to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) of such violation. This is known as Mandatory Report.

Once TEA receives this referral, TEA issues an investigation notice to the teacher informing the teacher about the allegations and potential legal proceedings against the teacher. The teacher is then invited to a preliminary meeting with the investigator. If the investigator finds that the allegations are unfounded, he closes the case and that’s the end of the matter.
In reality, the investigators always find good cause to refer the matter to the legal division for prosecution. The legal division will then initiate legal proceedings against the teacher by filing a Petition with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), seeking to sanction the teacher for code of ethics violations. Sanctions can vary from a suspension of a teacher certificate or the revocation of a certificate.
We have successfully represented teachers both at the investigative and prosecutorial level, negotiated resolutions and helped teachers retain their license to teach.

If you have received notice from your District that you are being referred to TEA, we would love to speak with you and share how we can help you. Please sign up here for a free 30-minute evaluation with Goz:

Our firm has experience in the following matters:

  • Allegations of Hitting/ Fighting students
  • Allegations of inappropriate contact with students
  • Allegations of grooming students
  • Misappropriation of Funds
  • Allegations of Verbally Assaulting and Abusing Students
  • Allegations of Inappropriate use of Social Media (Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook)
  • Substance Abuse Issues
  • Failure to Report Arrests
  • Lying on Applications for Employment
  • Procedural Violations

Legal Checklist for Teachers: To help you get started, please review the legal checklist below. If you answer “YES” to any of the following questions, you need to consult with an education attorney.

  • Have you experienced work-place friction or hostilities?
  • Have you experienced unnecessary warnings, write-ups, growth plans?
  • Have you been suspended without pay?
  • Is there an open investigation against you?
  • Has a parent or student filed a complaint against you?
  • Have you received the notice of non-renewal?
  • Have you received a notice of investigation from Texas Education Agency?
  • Have you received a Petition filed against you from the State Board of Educator Certification?

If you answered Yes to the above checklist, , we would love to speak with you and share how we can help you. Please sign up here for a free 30-minute evaluation with Goz:

Due Process for Teachers

A teacher who is accused of wrongdoing or misconduct has certain Due Process rights. If you are accused of wrongdoing it is important that your side of the story be told, and be told well. You have a right to an attorney from the moment you are called in for an investigation. Do not let administration control the narrative, call our office today for assistance.

Mandatory Reporting.

Effective September 1, 2019, and in accordance with the new Texas Education Code (TEC) TEC §21.006 and §22.093, superintendents or directors of school districts, districts of innovation, charter schools, regional education service centers, and shared services arrangements are required to report to the Texas Commissioner of Education when any certified or non-certified employee resigns or is terminated and there is evidence that the employee: abused or otherwise committed an unlawful act with a student or minor; or was involved in a romantic relationship with or solicited or engaged in sexual contact with a student or minor
The new TEC §21.0062 also requires a chief administrative officer of a private school to notify SBEC if a private school educator resigns or is terminated following an incident of misconduct.
All required reports must be submitted within seven business days after an individual has been terminated or resigned.

College Professors: Pre-Tenure Review and Tenure Denials:

A tenured post is an indefinite academic appointment that can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances, such as financial exigency or program discontinuation. Tenure is granted after a though review of the faculty’s qualifications and achievements. The awarding of tenure is a prerogative of the Board of Trustees of the university. The tenure decision is a judgment about a faculty member’s potential for continued teaching effectiveness, intellectual and scholarly growth, and student involvement/service to the University and community based on his/her record during the probationary period.
Education law issues don’t just affect students and parents. College faculty can also benefit from legal representation to uphold their rights. Concerns can arise over denial of tenure, termination of tenure, freedom of speech and retaliation for speaking out, and other work-related issues. An education attorney can help prepare a defense against large institutions to ensure the rights of faculty are protected.

Our firm has experience working with faculty to appeal denial of tenure, so if you believe that you have been unfairly denied tenure or have been subjected to a post-tenure review process that is motivated by bias or budget targets, our firm is available to discuss your situation. Please sign up for a free 30-minute evaluation with Goz:

Tenure and Promotion Appeals Process

A formal appeal comprises a written statement by a tenure‐track faculty member regarding receipt of a written notification from the College Tenure and Promotion Committee of a decision not to recommend the granting of tenure and/or promotion.
For some universities, a tenure candidate must meet with the provost prior to filing an appeal. The purpose of this meeting is for the candidate to seek the provost’s guidance and to allow for informal mediation, if possible. However, meeting with the provost does not prevent the candidate from meeting the deadlines for submission of the appeal.
A tenure candidate may appeal the tenure denial on the basis of; inadequate consideration, if the candidate can show proof of a procedural flaw or irregularity in the handling of the portfolio, or that the tenure and/or promotion recommendation was unduly influenced by failure of the Departmental Review. The appeal process varies for different universities and may be outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
Upon receipt of the appeal, the provost shall convene the Hearing Committee by presenting a copy of the appeal to the chair of the Hearing Committee. Generally, the Hearing Committee is prohibited from substituting its own judgment for that of members of the College Tenure and Promotion Committee on the merits of the candidate’s portfolio. The standard of review varies from university to university and it is imperative that a candidate retain an attorney before submitting an appeal to the provost.
If the Hearing Committee determines by majority vote that a claim of inadequate consideration has been established by the evidence, the Hearing Committee shall document the respects in which it believes that consideration may have been inadequate and shall forward its recommendations to the provost’s office.
Upon receipt of the recommendations, the provost shall recommend to the College Tenure and Promotion Committee that it assess the merits once again, this time remedying the inadequacies of its prior consideration.

If you receive a notice of denial of tenure, please sign up for a free 30-minute evaluation with Goz:

Exhaust Administrative Remedies

For all education-related legal matters, certain processes must be followed. Before teachers or faculty can file a lawsuit in court, all administrative remedies, including grievances, hearings, department decision reviews and appeals processes will need to be exhausted.
An education attorney working on behalf of the faculty must first try to resolve the dispute through all the college standard policies and procedures. This is called Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies. Filing a lawsuit is the last resort to pursue when an issue remains unresolved after all attempts at resolution have failed.

Odediran Law Firm, PLLC

Odediran Law Firm is an Education Law Firm representing the rights of Students, Parents, Teachers and Faculty in education law matters. The Firm is located in Austin, Texas and actively represents Students, Parents, Teachers and Faculty throughout the state of Texas