Appeal by petitioner from order entered 9 January 2006 by
Judge W. Robert Bell in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. Heard
in the Court of Appeals 7 February 2007.
Ferguson, Stein, Chambers, Gresham & Sumter, P.A., by S. Luke
Largess, for petitioner-appellant.
Helms Mullis & Wicker, PLLC, by H. Landis Wade, Jr. and
Melissa M. Kidd, for respondent-appellee.
Tharrington Smith, L.L.P., by Deborah R. Stagner and Ann L.
Majestic; and North Carolina School Boards Association, by
Allison B. Schafer, for Amicus Curiae North Carolina School
Petitioner Alicia Moore appeals from a decision of the
superior court upholding the non-renewal of her teaching contract
by respondent Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (the
"Board"). On appeal, Ms. Moore primarily argues that the Board
deprived her of a statutory right to have an evidentiary hearing
before the Board on the non-renewal issue. Based upon our review
of the plain language of the pertinent statutes as well as
controlling precedent from the North Carolina appellate courts, we
hold that the trial court properly concluded that Ms. Moore was not
entitled to the hearing she sought. Her remaining arguments on
appeal have been resolved against her by Davis v. Macon County Bd.
of Educ., 178 N.C. App. 646, 651, 632 S.E.2d 590, 594, disc. review
denied, 360 N.C. 645, 638 S.E.2d 465 (2006), an opinion filed after
submission of Ms. Moore's brief in this appeal. We, therefore,
affirm the order of the superior court.
During the academic year 2004-2005, Ms. Moore worked as a
middle school teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system.
Ms. Moore was employed on a year-to-year contract with the school
district. In January 2005, the principal of the school sent aletter to Ms. Moore, stating that he had received complaints that
she had used a ruler to hit students and also had used profanity in
front of them. The letter directed Ms. Moore to leave school
grounds because of the allegations.
Several days later, Ms. Moore responded in writing to the
allegations. In her letter, she told the principal that she used
a yardstick or ruler "to awaken students or get their attention by
slapping it down on a desk" and to "prod them to get in a
straight line (playfully), showing them what a straight line is."
As for the use of profanity, Ms. Moore admitted that, in moments of
frustration, she "may some times say 'ah damn' or 'shit where did
it go?' or the like (under my breath)" but that none of the
"irresponsible outbursts" was directed at her students. She added
that she relocated the student who sat closest to her desk because
of an "awareness" that her "outbursts" might be overheard by that
Following an investigation into the allegations of misconduct,
the school district "determined that [Ms. Moore] did indeed make
inappropriate contact with [her] students by hitting and prodding
them with a yardstick" and there was "evidence that supported
allegations that [she] consistently cursed at the students also and
not just in their presence." On 24 March 2005, Charles Head, an
Employee Relations Specialist with the school system, sent a formal
reprimand letter to Ms. Moore in which he stated that her conduct
violated school policy and ordered her to refrain from further such
conduct. Ms. Moore submitted no written response to that letter.
Less than two months later, at the appropriate time for non-renewal recommendations, Charles Head authored a letter to the
Board stating that the superintendent was recommending that Ms.
Moore's contract not be renewed. This letter cited the
superintendent's belief that "continued employment of Ms. Moore
would pose a threat to the physical safety of students or personnel
or that the person [sic] has demonstrated that he or she does not
have sufficient integrity, ethics or other traits to fulfill his or
her duties as a public school employee."
In support of the recommendation, the administration compiled
certain materials and submitted them to the Board. Those materials
included: the May 2005 letter recommending non-renewal; a 2004-2005
performance evaluation that gave Ms. Moore a "below standard"
rating in the area of "management of student behavior" and an
"unsatisfactory" rating in the area of "communicating within the
educational environment"; the 24 March 2005 letter from Charles
Head outlining the findings of the administration's investigation
into the allegations of misconduct; the principal's 13 January 2005
letter to Ms. Moore; other documents relating to the investigation,
including written statements from five students; and documentation
relating to two instances in the 2002-2003 school year when an
assistant principal had accused Ms. Moore of insubordination. The
materials also included Ms. Moore's January 2005 letter, in which
she defended herself against the allegations regarding the use of
the ruler and profanity.
On 24 May 2005, the Board considered the superintendent's
recommendation and voted not to renew Ms. Moore's teaching
contract. Ms. Moore responded to the decision by requesting,through counsel, a hearing before the Board pursuant to the appeal
provisions of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-45(c) (2005). After the Board
denied her request for a hearing, Ms. Moore appealed the non-
renewal decision to Mecklenburg County Superior Court "pursuant to
G.S. §115C-325(n) and G.S. §115C-45(c)" on the grounds "that the
decision violated G.S. §115C-325(m)(2) and was made under unlawful
In its response filed with the superior court, the Board
denied Ms. Moore's allegations and submitted the record considered
by the Board. Ms. Moore filed an affidavit accompanied by 12
attachments, consisting of e-mails, written observations, and
personnel documents that had not been included in the Board's
record. The Board moved to strike these submissions, contending
that "[i]n the case of a nonrenewal of a probationary teacher, the
record on appeal is limited solely to those documents that were
part of the administrative, or Board, record."
The superior court entered a final order on 9 January 2006.
In its order, the court allowed the Board's motion to strike,
stating "that Petitioner's Affidavit and the twelve exhibits
attached thereto are not part of the Board Record, and that they
should not be included as part of the Board Record." Based on "the
entire Board record as relied upon by the Board of Education," the
court then held "that Respondent's decision was not arbitrary,
capricious, discriminatory, or for personal or political reasons,
and was supported by substantial evidence when considering the
record as a whole." Lastly, the court determined "that Petitioner
was not entitled to an adversarial, evidentiary hearing to be heldprior to any decision by Respondent not to renew her employment
contract, and that this matter is not to be remanded to Respondent
for that purpose." Ms. Moore timely appealed this order.
A probationary teacher is "a certificated person, other than
a superintendent, associate superintendent, or assistant
superintendent, who has not obtained career-teacher status and
whose major responsibility is to teach or to supervise teaching."
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(a)(5) (2005). After a probationary
teacher "has been employed by a North Carolina public school system
for four consecutive years," the local school board must vote to
determine "whether to grant the teacher career status." N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 115C-325(c)(1).
Once a teacher achieves career status, the General Assembly
has prescribed a detailed procedure that must be followed before
that career teacher may be dismissed or demoted. See
Stat. § 115C-325(h)-(j3). This procedure includes a teacher's
right to receive notice of an adverse recommendation by the
superintendent, to be heard before a case manager and/or the board
of education, to present evidence, and generally to defend against
whatever the charges or allegations might be. See id.
In contrast, the General Assembly has provided with respect to
(m) Probationary Teacher.
(1) The board of any local school
administrative unit may not
discharge a probationary
teacher during the school year
except for the reasons for and
by the procedures by which acareer employee may be
dismissed as set forth in
subsections (e), (f), (f1), and
(h) to (j3) above.
(2) The board, upon recommendation
of the superintendent, may
refuse to renew the contract of
any probationary teacher or to
reemploy any teacher who is not
under contract for any cause it
deems sufficient: Provided,
however, that the cause may not
be arbitrary, capricious,
discriminatory or for personal
or political reasons.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m). Thus, the General Assembly
established a bifurcated framework with respect to probationary
teachers. During the school year, they may not be discharged
"except for the reasons for and by the procedures by which a career
employee may be dismissed . . . ." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-
325(m)(1). But, upon expiration of the probationary teacher's
contract, the board "may refuse to renew the contract . . . for any
cause it deems sufficient . . . ." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-
The only stated limitation on the board's authority to not
renew the probationary teacher's contract is "that the cause may
not be arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory or for personal or
political reasons." Id.
If a probationary teacher believes that
a board's non-renewal decision is motivated by or premised upon one
of the prohibited reasons, the teacher may appeal the decision
directly to superior court under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(n):
"any probationary teacher whose contract is not renewed under G.S.
115C-325(m)(2) shall have the right to appeal from the decision of
the board to the superior court . . . ." The provision authorizing a probationary teacher to directly
appeal a non-renewal decision to superior court, § 115C-325(n), was
added to the statute in 1997 and represented a departure from the
pre-1997 remedial scheme. See
1997 N.C. Sess. Laws 221, § 13.
Prior to 1997, when "no statutory right to appeal exist[ed]," a
non-renewed probationary teacher could challenge the decision not
to renew his or her contract by filing suit and obtaining a trial
on the issues arising under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(2). See
Spry v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Bd. of Educ.
, 105 N.C. App.
269, 273, 412 S.E.2d 687, 689, aff'd per curiam
, 332 N.C. 661, 422
S.E.2d 575 (1992).
On appeal of a decision of a school board, pursuant to the
amended N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(n), "a trial court sits as an
appellate court and reviews the evidence presented to the school
board." Davis v. Macon County Bd. of Educ.
, 178 N.C. App. 646,
651, 632 S.E.2d 590, 594, disc. review denied
, 360 N.C. 645, 638
S.E.2d 465 (2006). Review of a school board's decision is governed
by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-51 (2005) of the North Carolina
Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"). Davis
, 178 N.C. App. at 651,
632 S.E.2d at 594. Under the APA, the court may reverse or modify
a school board's decision only if the petitioner's substantial
rights may have been prejudiced because the board's findings,
inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
(1) In violation of constitutional
(2) In excess of the statutory authority or
jurisdiction of the agency;
(3) Made upon unlawful procedure;
(4) Affected by other error of law;
(5) Unsupported by substantial evidence
admissible under G.S. 150B-29(a),
150B-30, or 150B-31 in view of the entire
record as submitted; or
(6) Arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-51(b)(1)-(6).
"A de novo
standard of review applies to asserted errors under
subsections (1) through (4) of N.C.G.S. § 150B-51(b), while errors
under subsections (5) and (6) of this statute are reviewed under
the whole record test." Davis
, 178 N.C. App. at 652, 632 S.E.2d at
594. When conducting de novo review, the court considers the
matter anew and may freely substitute its own judgment for the
board's. In re Alexander v. Cumberland County Bd. of Educ.
N.C. App. 649, 654, 615 S.E.2d 408, 413 (2005). The whole record
test, by contrast, requires the reviewing court to examine all
competent evidence and determine whether the board's decision is
supported by "substantial evidence." Davis
, 178 N.C. App. at 652,
632 S.E.2d at 594.
Finally, "[w]hen an appellate court reviews 'a superior court
order regarding [a board] decision, the appellate court examines
the trial court's order for error of law.'" Alexander
, 171 N.C.
App. at 655, 615 S.E.2d at 413 (quoting Mann Media, Inc. v.
Randolph County Planning Bd.
, 356 N.C. 1, 14, 565 S.E.2d 9, 18
(2002)). Our task is essentially twofold: "'(1) determining
whether the trial court exercised the appropriate scope of review
and, if appropriate, (2) deciding whether the court did so
(quoting Mann Media
, 356 N.C. at 14, 565 S.E.2d at18).
Board's Denial of Evidentiary Hearing
 Ms. Moore first contends that "a probationary teacher is
entitled to some sort of evidentiary hearing prior to judicial
review of a school board decision not to renew the teacher's
contract." Since this question raises issues of law, de novo
As Ms. Moore acknowledges, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(2) _
the provision specifically setting forth the rights of probationary
teachers _ fails to expressly provide any right to a hearing before
the Board. Ms. Moore, however, essentially asks this Court to find
that a right to notice and a hearing is implicit in N.C. Gen. Stat.
In matters of statutory interpretation, it is well established
that legislative intent is first ascertained from the plain words
of the statute. "When the language of a statute is clear and
unambiguous, there is no room for judicial construction and the
courts must give the statute its plain and definite meaning, and
are without power to interpolate, or superimpose, provisions and
limitations not contained therein." In re Banks
, 295 N.C. 236,
239, 244 S.E.2d 386, 388-89 (1978).
The plain language of the statutes at issue do not support the
implied remedy sought by Ms. Moore. The detailed procedure set
forth for career teachers in § 115C-325(h)-(j3), set out just prior
to the probationary teacher provision, is made applicable only to
probationary teachers dismissed during the school year. See
Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(1) (providing that a probationary teachermay not be subject to mid-year dismissal "except for the reasons
for and by the procedures by which a career employee may be
dismissed as set forth in [§ 115C-325(e), (f), (f1), and (h) to
(j3)]"). Moreover, the General Assembly specifically addressed a
Board's non-renewal decision in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(o): "A
probationary teacher whose contract will not be renewed for the
next school year shall be notified of this fact by June 15." A
reasonable construction of this provision is that the Board is only
required to notify the probationary teacher once its non-renewal
decision has been made, but this notification must occur no later
than June 15.
By contrast, the General Assembly has expressly required, in
the case of school administrators and career teachers, that the
superintendent give prior
notice regarding a recommendation that
may adversely affect the employee's future status. See
Stat. § 115C-287.1(d) (2005) ("the superintendent shall give the
school administrator written notice of his or her decision and the
reasons for his or her decision"); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(h)(2)
("the superintendent shall give written notice to the career
employee by certified mail or personal delivery . . . and shall set
forth as part of his recommendation the grounds upon which he
believes . . . dismissal or demotion is justified"). The absence
of any prior
notice requirement in the non-renewal provision
applicable to probationary teachers is further evidence that the
legislature did not intend to require an evidentiary hearing in the
case of probationary teachers.
Ms. Moore argues, however, that such a right must be inferredfrom the 1997 amendment to § 115C-325(n) authorizing direct
judicial review in superior court of the Board's non-renewal
decision. She reasons that, unless some hearing process before the
Board is read into the amendment, judicial review under § 115C-
325(n) will be merely a pro forma
exercise incapable of policing
non-renewal decisions for arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory,
personal, or political motivation.
Although prior to the 1997 amendment relied upon by Ms. Moore,
a non-renewed probationary teacher was able to file a lawsuit in
superior court _ and pursue discovery, submit evidence, and obtain
a jury trial _ the legislature in amending § 115C-325(n) replaced
this pre-1997 independent action with "a specific appeal process"
for probationary teachers not renewed. Craig v. Asheville City Bd.
, 142 N.C. App. 518, 520, 543 S.E.2d 186, 188 (2001). This
change brought judicial review of non-renewal decisions in line
with review of other school board decisions. N.C. Gen. Stat. §
115C-325(n), as amended, provides:
(n) Appeal. _ Any career employee who has
been dismissed or demoted under G.S.
115C-325(e)(2), or under G.S. 115C-325(j2), or
who has been suspended without pay under G.S.
115C-325(a)(4a), or any school administrator
whose contract is not renewed in accordance
with G.S. 115C-287.1, or any probationary
teacher whose contract is not renewed under
G.S. 115C-325(m)(2) shall have the right to
appeal from the decision of the board to the
for the superior court district
or set of districts as defined in G.S. 7A-41.1
in which the career employee is employed.
This appeal shall be filed within a period of
30 days after notification of the decision of
the board. The cost of preparing the
transcript shall be determined under G.S.
115C-325(j2)(8) or G.S. 115C-325(j3)(10). A
career employee who has been demoted or
dismissed, or a school administrator whosecontract is not renewed, who has not requested
a hearing before the board of education
pursuant to this section shall not be entitled
to judicial review of the board's action.
Significantly, this statute focuses not on the procedures
governing the Board's non-renewal decision, but rather on the
procedural mechanism by which a probationary teacher may challenge
that decision. Moreover, Ms. Moore's reliance on this statute is
undercut by its final sentence: "A career employee
who has been
demoted or dismissed, or a school administrator
whose contract is
not renewed, who has not requested a hearing before the board of
education pursuant to this section shall not be entitled to
judicial review of the board's action." Id.
(emphasis added). If
the General Assembly had intended to provide for a hearing before
the Board for probationary teachers, it would have certainly
required that probationary teachers seek such a hearing as a
precondition for judicial review.
Nonetheless, Ms. Moore argues that adverse consequences will
inevitably flow from any construction of § 115C-325(n) that does
not require a right to a hearing before the Board. According to
Ms. Moore, such a construction would risk (1) rendering the statute
unconstitutional and (2) eliminating the requirement of exhaustion
of administrative remedies since any remedy under the statute would
(See footnote 1)
While Ms. Moore thus urges us to "read into" § 115C-325(n) a remedial process that arguably might make the scheme more
effective, fair, or meaningful, we are not permitted to read
matters into an unambiguous statute. As our Supreme Court has
explained: "The duty of a court is to construe a statute as it is
written. It is not the duty of a court to determine whether the
legislation is wise or unwise, appropriate or inappropriate, or
necessary or unnecessary." Campbell v. First Baptist Church of the
City of Durham
, 298 N.C. 476, 482, 259 S.E.2d 558, 563 (1979); see
also Ferguson v. Riddle
, 233 N.C. 54, 57, 62 S.E.2d 525, 528 (1950)
(holding that when a statute is clear, "[w]e have no power to add
to or subtract from the language of the statute").
Our obligation in this case is, therefore, simply to construe
the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m) and (n) and decide
whether those provisions encompass the right to a hearing before
the Board. Based on the statute's plain language, therefore, we
hold that the statute does not entitle probationary teachers facing
non-renewal to an evidentiary hearing before the Board.
 Ms. Moore next argues that N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-
45(c)(2)-(3) grants her a right to a hearing before the Board:
An appeal shall lie to the local board of
education from any final administrative
decision in the following matters:
. . . .
(2) An alleged violation of a specified
federal law, State law, State Board
of Education policy, State rule, or
local board policy . . . ;
(3) The terms or conditions ofemployment or employment status of a
school employee . . . .
Our Supreme Court has, however, already resolved this contention
against Ms. Moore.
In Still v. Lance
, 279 N.C. 254, 261, 182 S.E.2d 403, 407
(1971), the Supreme Court held that N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115-34 had
"no application" in the case of a teacher terminated without a
hearing before the board of education. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115-34
was subsequently repealed and replaced by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-
45. We have held that those two statutes "are not 'materially
different.'" Cooper v. Bd. of Educ. for Nash-Rocky Mount Schs.
135 N.C. App. 200, 202, 519 S.E.2d 536, 538 (1999) (quoting
Williams v. New Hanover County Bd. of Educ.
, 104 N.C. App. 425,
429, 409 S.E.2d 753, 756 (1991)).
The Court in Still
held that, under § 115-34, the non-renewed
teacher was not entitled to a board hearing because that statute
concerned appeals "from decisions of school personnel to the . . .
board of education" whereas "[t]he decision of which the plaintiff
complain[ed] [was] the decision of the County Board of Education."
279 N.C. at 261, 182 S.E.2d at 407-08. This Court has since
confirmed that "Still v. Lance
. . . holds that G.S. 115-34 has no
application where the decision complained of is the decision of a
county board of education." Murphy v. McIntyre
, 69 N.C. App. 323,
328, 317 S.E.2d 397, 400 (1984).
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-45, the "replacement" of § 115-34,
underwent further amendment in 2001. Prior to amendment, § 115C-45
provided that "[a]n appeal shall lie from the decision of all
school personnel to the appropriate local board of education." Theamendments narrowed the right to appeal from "the decision of all
school personnel" to "any final administrative decision" in certain
specified matters, with "final administrative decision" defined as
"a decision of a school employee from which no further appeal to a
school administrator is available." 2001 N.C. Sess. Laws ch. 260
§ 1. Since the appeal is still from the decision of a school
employee to the Board, we see no basis for concluding that these
amendments altered the applicability of Still
. We are, therefore,
still bound by Still
and hold that N.C. Gen. Stat. §
115C-45 does not entitle Ms. Moore to a hearing before the Board on
its decision to not renew her contract.
Further support for this conclusion is evident in N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 115C-287.1(d), which sets forth procedures relating to the
renewal, non-renewal, and extension of school administrators'
If a superintendent decides not to
recommend that the local board of education
offer a new, renewed, or extended school
administrator's contract to the school
administrator, the superintendent shall give
the school administrator written notice of his
or her decision and the reasons for his or her
decision no later than May 1 of the final year
of the contract. The superintendent's reasons
may not be arbitrary, capricious,
discriminatory, personal, or political. No
action by the local board or further notice to
the school administrator shall be necessary
unless the school administrator files with the
superintendent a written request, within 10
days of receipt of the superintendent's
decision, for a hearing before the local
board. . . . If a school administrator files
a timely request for a hearing, the local
board shall conduct a hearing pursuant to the
provisions of G.S. 115C-45(c)
and make a final
decision on whether to offer the school
administrator a new, renewed, or extended
school administrator's contract.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-287.1(d) (emphasis added). The existence of
language granting administrators the right to a hearing "pursuant
to the provisions of G.S. 115C-45(c)" confirms that when the
General Assembly intended to afford notice and hearing rights, it
did so in unambiguous terms.
Therefore, had the legislature also intended to bestow hearing
rights on probationary teachers pursuant to the provisions of §
115C-45(c), we must presume that it would have done so explicitly.
See Barnhart v. Sigmon Coal Co.
, 534 U.S. 438, 452, 151 L. Ed. 2d
908, 922, 122 S. Ct. 941, 951 (2002) ("[I]t is a general principle
of statutory construction that when 'Congress includes particular
language in one section of a statute but omits it in another
section of the same Act, it is generally presumed that Congress
acts intentionally and purposely in the disparate inclusion or
exclusion.'" (quoting Russello v. United States
, 464 U.S. 16, 23,
78 L. Ed. 2d 17, 24, 104 S. Ct. 296, 300 (1983))). See also
Satterfield v. Edenton-Chowan Bd. of Educ.
, 530 F.2d 567, 570 n.4
(4th Cir. 1975) ("That this omission of a right to a hearing in the
case of a probationary teacher was not inadvertent but purposeful
appears plain from the other provisions in the Amendments which
specifically require hearings on the nonrenewal of the contract of
a 'career teacher' (i.e., one with tenure). The absence of any
similar provision for probationary teachers in the Amendments
compels, it seems to us, the conclusion that no such right to a
hearing was intended or contemplated for the probationary teacher
In sum, the statutes applicable to probationary teachers aredevoid of any expression of an intent to attach hearing rights to
the decisions to not renew probationary teachers' contracts. The
explicit grant of advance notice and hearing rights to other
classes of school employees _ but not to probationary teachers _
makes this conclusion inescapable.
(See footnote 2)
To obtain a right to a hearing
before the Board, probationary teachers must look to the General
Assembly and not the courts. Our hands are tied by the statutes'
Motion to Strike Exhibits
 Ms. Moore next contends that the superior court improperly
struck from the record the additional documents she offered for the
court's consideration. She argues on appeal that these documents
would have shown (1) that she used a ruler without complaint over
several years, (2) that "she was lauded for all but one of her
interactions with her students over 3.5 years," and (3) she was
praised for "her effectiveness with the toughest kids in the
system" by other school administrators. Whatever the value of Ms.
Moore's extra-record documents, the trial court's decision was
proper in light of this Court's recent decision in Davis
also involved a probationary teacher whose contract had
not been renewed. She appealed the board decision on the grounds
that it violated N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(m)(2). 178 N.C. App.
at 649-50, 632 S.E.2d at 593. This Court held that "[o]n appeal of
a decision of a school board, a trial court sits as an appellatecourt and reviews the evidence presented to the school board
at 651, 632 S.E.2d at 594 (emphasis added).
Although Ms. Moore argues judicial review will be futile if
probationary teachers are prevented from offering evidence at a
Board hearing and then are also barred from presenting evidence
before the superior court to demonstrate prejudice or
discrimination, we are bound by Davis
. In re Civil Penalty
N.C. 373, 384, 379 S.E.2d 30, 37 (1989) ("Where a panel of the
Court of Appeals has decided the same issue, albeit in a different
case, a subsequent panel of the same court is bound by that
precedent, unless it has been overturned by a higher court.").
Consequently, we hold the superior court did not err in striking
the additional documents.
The Board's Decision
 The last issue raised by Ms. Moore "is whether the Board
failed to inquire into the recommendation and undertake 'fair and
careful' consideration of the non-renewal decision." Although
conceding that "the record reveals a reason for the non-renewal,"
Ms. Moore argues that "[t]he lack of any inquiry into or awareness
of contrary information makes the [Board's] decision arbitrary"
and, therefore, unsustainable on appeal to superior court. Again,
our recent decision in Davis
recognized our prior decisions "'impos[ing] a duty on
boards of education to determine the substantive bases for
recommendations of non-renewal and to assure that non-renewal is
not for a prohibited reason.'" Davis
, 178 N.C. App. at 655, 632
S.E.2d at 596 (quoting Abell v. Nash County Bd. of Educ.
, 71 N.C.App. 48, 52, 321 S.E.2d 502, 506 (1984), disc. review denied
N.C. 506, 329 S.E.2d 389 (1985)). Relying further on Abell
"[T]he advisory nature of the superintendent's
recommendation to not rehire a non-tenured
teacher places the responsibility on the Board
to ascertain the rational basis for the
recommendation before acting upon it."
However, a school board need not "make
exhaustive inquiries or formal findings of
fact[.]" Rather, "the administrative record,
be it the personnel file, board minutes or
recommendation memoranda, should disclose the
basis for the board's action."
at 655-56, 632 S.E.2d at 596 (second alteration original)
(internal citations omitted) (quoting Abell
, 71 N.C. App. at 53,
321 S.E.2d at 506-07). Davis
then found that the board's inquiry
was sufficient _ and the superior court properly applied the whole
record test _ when the record showed (1) that the superintendent
conducted an investigation into the teacher's alleged misconduct
and reviewed two "below standard" performance evaluations given to
the teacher; (2) the superintendent presented a summary of his
investigation to the board along with his non-renewal
recommendation; and (3) the board considered the information
presented by the superintendent. Id.
at 657, 632 S.E.2d at 597.
The circumstances of this case are substantially similar. The
record here demonstrates that the school administration
investigated allegations that Ms. Moore inappropriately used a
ruler and profanity while teaching; the administration found these
allegations to be supported by evidence; the administration
communicated its findings to the Board, in addition to information
about Ms. Moore's performance evaluation, containing a "belowstandard" and "unsatisfactory" with respect to certain elements;
and, in conjunction with all of this information, the
superintendent recommended non-renewal. The superior court found
that "[o]n May 24, 2005, the Board considered the Superintendent's
recommendation and voted not to renew [her] contract for
, the foregoing is sufficient under the whole
record test to support the Board's decision as non-arbitrary.
Nothing in Davis
suggests that an evidentiary hearing is necessary
in order for the Board to carry out its duty of ascertaining a non-
prohibited reason prior to making a non-renewal decision under §
 Ms. Moore also argues that the Board's record is
inadequate because it shows that the superintendent failed to
"recommend" her non-renewal, pointing to the fact that the non-
renewal recommendation was signed by Charles Head, the school
administration's Employee Relations Specialist, and not the
superintendent. Although the letter was signed by Mr. Head, it
states that "[t]he Superintendent
believes the continued employment
of Ms. Moore would pose a threat to the physical safety of students
or personnel or that the person [sic] has demonstrated that he or
she does not have sufficient integrity, ethics or other traits to
fulfill his or her duties as a public school employee." (Emphasis
added.) In the very next sentence, the letter states: "We
that Ms. Alicia Moore not be recommended for career status."
(Emphasis added.) This language sufficiently resolves any doubt
that the superintendent in fact made the non-renewalrecommendation. Ms. Moore points to no authority that would
require the superintendent to personally sign the non-renewal
recommendation letter, and, accordingly, we decline to impose any
such requirement in this case.
In sum, we hold that, although § 115C-325(n) allows non-
renewed probationary teachers "the right to appeal from the
decision of the board to the superior court," there is no right _
express or implied _ to have a preliminary hearing before the Board
on the issue of non-renewal. While Ms. Moore presents a reasonable
argument that some type of hearing would provide for more
meaningful review, such arguments must be presented to the General
Assembly or individual Boards of Education. We are in no position
to disturb the General Assembly's policy judgment.
Moreover, we hold that the superior court committed no error
in striking Ms. Moore's extra-record submissions, given that the
court's inquiry is limited to the evidence presented to the school
board. We also have reviewed the full record considered by the
superior court and conclude that this record reveals a non-
prohibited reason for Ms. Moore's loss of her teaching contract.
The order of the superior court is, therefore, affirmed.
Judges TYSON and ELMORE concur.