A Chaparral High School math teacher’s job is in jeopardy after the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board opted to serve him with a notice of intent to dismiss on the heels of the Arizona Board of Education finding he falsified documents regarding his teaching certification.
The Governing Board heard a brief rundown of the charges against Chaparral teacher Richie Krzyzanowski at its Aug. 4 meeting. The board then voted 4-0, with board member Barbara Perleberg absent, to serve Mr. Krzyzanowski with the notice.
SUSD General Counsel Michelle Marshall said the next steps is to serve Mr. Krzyzanowski with the notice and provide him 10 days to request a hearing.
“Although it’s quite far along in the whole process, it’s still the beginning of the dismissal process,” she said. “Your vote tonight would not be an immediate termination by any means. The teacher does have an opportunity to respond.”
The Arizona Board of Education adopted the recommendation of the Professional Practices Advisory Committee (PPAC) to revoke all teaching credentials for Mr. Krzyzanowski for the next five years. This approval came on June 22.
The basis for this decision came from a Board of Education investigation that reportedly found Mr. Krzyzanowski had not passed two subtests from Grand Canyon University for a Standard Professional Principal PreK-12 Certificate, despite submitting paperwork saying he passed them in 2019.
The investigation states Mr. Krzyzanowski submitted an application for the principal certificate on July 8, 2019, through the submission of an institutional recommendation. Applications with an institutional recommendation are good for one year.
Upon evaluating this submission, the board claimed assessment provider Pearson did not have any record of Mr. Krzyzanowski taking the tests except in 2016, during which he failed. Furthermore, GCU claimed it completed and mailed an institutional recommendation in 2017 but not at any other time.
This led Bruce DuPlanty, deputy associate superintendent of department educator preparation and certification, to further scrutinize Mr. Krzyzanowski’s Standard Professional Secondary 6-12 Certificate, which allows him to teach at Chaparral.
Mr. DuPlanty found Mr. Krzyzanowski had submitted a National Evaluation Series Score Report with his provisional secondary teaching certificate application in 2013 saying he met Arizona’s minimum passing requirement for the math test.
Mr. Krzyzanowski was on a provisional secondary certificate until 2017 when he had to apply for his professional secondary teaching certificate.
Mr. DuPlanty, however, couldn’t locate the actual results and reached out to Pearson for help. Pearson told him it had no record of Mr. Krzyzanowski taking the math assessment.
Mr. Krzyzanowski attempted to submit copies of his transcripts as well as a copy of his principal test score but the certification unit told him he needed the official transcripts directly from GCU as well as the original copy of his principal test scores rather than photocopies.
When in contact with the Arizona Department of Education’s Investigation Unit, Mr. Krzyzanowski insisted he took both the exams.
PPAC initially recommended the revocation of Mr. Krzyzanowski’s certificates at its Feb. 11 meeting with the Board of Education following through with the recommendation.
“The aforementioned conduct constitutes unprofessional conduct and conduct in violation of the administrative regulations and Mr. Krzyzanowski’s contract with the district, warranting good and just cause for the district to terminate his employment,” Amy Eveleth, director of human resources for certified employees, said during the meeting.
At both his hearing with PPAC as well as the Board of Education, Mr. Krzyzanowski, who has been a teacher at Chaparral since 2014, focused on his love for teaching and why he’s motivated to do so.
He said his students are important and he wants to do all he can to help them achieve their goals. He also said being away from a teaching role while the investigation played out has hurt his students as much as it has hurt him because he isn’t able to “guide them through their academic endeavors and the current events we are battling daily.”
“Teaching isn’t for everyone, but it is a very acquired taste for those who test those waters and those waters are ones that test the real teachers who are ready for anything that steps in their way, and that is what I’ve been doing for the past six years,” he said during the June 22 meeting.
Along with teaching at Chaparral, Mr. Krzyzanowski has coached numerous sports, including the boys and girls swim and dive teams, girls basketball and sand volleyball. As a swim coach, he led the girls team to its sixth consecutive state title in 2019.