Northeastern school superintendent's certificate suspended
Northeastern School Superintendent Shawn Minnich's teaching certificate has been suspended, his attorney confirmed, but nothing is expected to happen until after the commission that ordered the suspension files its written opinion.
The Professional Standards and Practices Commission, which is an arm of the state Department of Education, voted 6-3 on Monday to suspend Minnich's teaching certificate, according to attorney Joe Korsak.
But Korsak said he expects Minnich will remain on the job and that his employment status won't change until the commission releases written opinion, which it has 20 days to do.
Korsak said he and Minnich will decide whether to appeal after reviewing that opinion. If they challenge the ruling, it would be done in Commonwealth Court, he said.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed because I think they ignored some things that happened during the hearing itself that should have been taken into account," Korsak said. It was incumbent upon the state to prove that Minnich posed a threat to the children, staff or faculty of the school district, he said.
"The Department of Education did not put on any testimony on the issue of his being presently dangerous or threatening to anyone," Korsak said.
The background: The commission's vote came after a two-day hearing April 4 and 5. The state Department of Education was seeking the suspension of Minnich's teaching certificate and his employment eligibility, Korsak has said.
Minnich, 44, of Nursery Road in Conewago Township, is accused of bursting into the East Manchester Township home of his estranged wife, Kathy Minnich, and physically assaulting her boyfriend, Christopher Leh, on Dec. 4. He's also accused of threatening to kill the man, Northeastern Regional Police have said.
Minnich remains free on bail, charged with aggravated assault, burglary, making terroristic threats, simple assault, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and harassment.
He maintains his innocence and is a great superintendent, said defense attorney Farley Holt, who represents Minnich in the criminal case.
The superintendent's aggravated assault charge — which wasn't filed until his Feb. 3 preliminary hearing — is among a list of criminal charges in the state Department of Education's school code that spurred the department to seek discipline, according to Korsak.
"It's only the aggravated assault charge that gives the department the jurisdiction to get involved in the case," Korsak said after the hearing. "I can tell you right now he's as clean an educator as I've ever seen. He's been a superintendent for three years, he's one of the youngest in the county, he's highly regarded by his board, and yesterday I heard nothing but the highest praise for his talents and abilities."
Korsak added he's seen nothing to suggest the school district's reputation is being sullied and noted that the alleged incident occurred off-campus and was directed toward Kathy Minnich's boyfriend.
At the end of the two-day hearing, Korsak requested the case be dismissed, he said. The request was made to preserve Minnich's legal rights, as the officer who presided over the hearing was instructed only to take testimony — not to issue a ruling, according to Korsak.
The Northeastern school board and its solicitor, attorney Greg Gettle Sr., have repeatedly refused comment to The York Dispatch about the superintendent's criminal case or its ramifications.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.