Kelowna teacher who faked certificate gets 18 month ban | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna teacher who faked certificate gets 18 month ban

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A Kelowna woman who faked a teaching certificate and taught at a private school has been banned from teaching for 18 months.

According to an Aug. 29 B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation decision, Nicola Julie Pendleton submitted a fake teaching certificate and held a job at the independent Lakeside School in Kelowna.

The Commissioner described Pendleton's actions as "blatantly dishonest... calculated and prolonged" and that she "flouted a basic social expectation: that people are honest about their credentials and qualifications."

According to the decision, Pendleton got her teaching education in Australia and after she moved to Canada received a six-year temporary licence to teach.

During that time Pendleton was supposed to complete Canadian teaching courses which would allow her to get a permanent licence.

However, she didn't bother with the courses and instead when her temporary licence expired in 2018, submitted the fake teaching certificate to get a job.

She took a job at Kelowna's Lakeside School in August 2018 and worked there until fall 2019 when it was discovered she didn't have a licence.

In May, the Teacher Commissioner found her guilty of professional misconduct.

READ MORE: Kelowna woman faked teaching certificate, taught at private school

The May decision gave a play-by-play account of how Pendleton strung along the school and paid her annual teacher's fees to the Teacher Regulation Branch.

The Teachers' Regulation Branch even confirmed receipt of the payment.

A staff member testified that she didn't notice when she processed the payment that Pendleton's temporary licence had expired.

The computer did later flag Pendleton's lack of licence and the Teachers' Regulation Branch then contacted Pendleton.

However, it appears the school never learnt about this and continued to employ Pendleton.

The school even continued to pay Pendleton's Teachers' Regulation Branch fees by deducting them from her wages.

A year later the Regulation Branch refunded the school Pendleton's fees saying she wasn't a licenced teacher and therefore shouldn't be paying fees.

The school contacted the Branch saying it had a copy of Pendleton's licence.

It appears the school believed there to have been a mistake until an investigation was launched and the certificate was found to be a fake.

The decision says Pendleton continued to say her licence was genuine.

The decision says Pendleton did not participate during the investigation but did submit two doctor's notes from Australia.

One letter dated 2010 said she had suffered from migraines since she was eight, and another dated 2022 said she had chronic pain syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome and was undergoing testing for Early Onset Alzheimer’s.

The Commissioner said the doctor's letter provided was "vaguely worded" and provided no evidence as to how these conditions affected her behaviour.

The decision says Pendleton's actions did not harm any students, although points out she never acknowledged her conduct or expressed any remorse for it.

"The use of a fraudulent certificate to illegitimately occupy a position of trust and influence over students is very serious because it created a real risk to the reputation of the teaching profession when she was hired as a teacher," the decision reads.

The Commission has never had to address a case of fraudulent misrepresentation and struggled to find the right sanction.  

Ultimately, the Commissioner ruled that Pendleton be banned from obtaining any type of teaching certificate for 18 months.

No fines or legal expenses were ordered.

READ MORE: B.C. teacher banned for 15 years for having intimate relationship with former student

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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