Denial, Suspensions, and Revocations of Licenses

The State Board of Education has authority over the issuance, denial, reprimand, suspension, and revocation of preK-12 teacher and administrator licenses and permits. The State Board does not have authority to make employment decisions. Employment decisions are left up to the local school district or public charter school.

In addition to constituting grounds for employment action by a local school district or public charter school, certain misconduct may be grounds for licensed teachers or administrators to have their license suspended, revoked, or formally reprimanded. It may also be grounds for teacher license applicants to have their application denied, or for the Board to direct that a permit not be re-issued.

Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 49-1-302 gives the State Board the duty and power to "adopt rules and policies governing ... [the] discipline of licensed personnel for misconduct by formal reprimand or by the suspension and revocation of licenses and certificates." T.C.A. § 49-5-108 gives the State Board "[c]omplete jurisdiction over the issuance and administration of licenses . . . ."

The general public can see the license or permit status of any individual online here. If a license or permit application is denied, or a current license is suspended, revoked or voluntarily surrendered, that status will appear in the TNCompass database.

State Board of Education Rule 0520-02-03-.09 outlines reasons why applicants, teachers, or administrators may have applications denied, licenses formally reprimanded, suspended or revoked, or permits not re-issued.

State Board Procedure for Possible Denial, Suspension or Revocation of Licenses

The procedure for review of cases which may lead to actions against a teacher or administrator license or permit is outlined in Board Policy 5.501. Included with the policy is a flowchart showing how cases proceed through the review process.

Directors of Schools, including directors of public charter schools and private schools, are required by law to report to the State Board whenever a licensed or permitted educator is suspended, terminated, or resigns, following allegations of misconduct which, if substantiated, could constitute grounds for reprimand, suspension or revocation of a license under State Board rules.

All reports are reviewed by State Board staff to determine if the misconduct falls under the State Board’s license discipline rule (0520-02-03-.09). If so, a case is opened and the educator’s license is placed under State Board review. An educator’s license being under review by the State Board is not a disciplinary action and does not prohibit a licensed educator from being hired or employed by a school or school system during the period of review.

If the State Board decides to seek reprimand, suspension, or revocation of a license, the educator may agree with the proposed action or request a hearing before an administrative law judge sitting on behalf of the Board. If the State Board decides not to take any action against the license or permit, the review on the educator’s license or permit is cleared in TNCompass.

If the State Board (or a judge sitting on behalf of the Board) denies, reprimands, suspends, or revokes a license that action is recorded on a national database of teacher licensure actions, maintained by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). The State Board receives regular reports from this database regarding any current teachers, administrators, or applicants that have had action taken against their licenses in other states.