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Former Pembroke Academy dean surrenders teaching license after sentencing on drug charges

Staff Report
March 13. 2018 11:56PM

Rekha Luther, shown here during an earlier court appearance in Hooksett in 2016. (Dave Lane / Staff)

CONCORD — The former dean of students at Pembroke Academy has voluntarily surrendered her teaching certificate as a condition of her guilty plea and sentencing on drug-related charges in 2016, the Department of Education announced on Tuesday.

Rekha Luther of Lakeside Drive, Manchester, was sentenced Monday in Merrimack County Superior Court after pleading guilty to charges of possessing a controlled drug and a narcotic drug in a school zone, according to court records.

Judge Richard McNamara sentenced her to a year and a half in jail, with all but three months suspended, credit for 20 days of pretrial confinement, and two years of probation after her release.

Luther must also pay $620 in fines and court fees and is required to participate in a drug counseling and treatment program.

The final condition, according to court records, is that Luther must “surrender her N.H. Experienced Educator’s Certificate to the Department of Education.”

“These charges were predicated upon Ms. Luther having brought heroin onto school property at the school where she worked. Based upon the nature of these convictions, the Department of Education sought the revocation of her credential,” according to a DOE statement released on Tuesday.

Luther was arrested in February of 2016 and charged with possessing fentanyl and testosterone propionate while on school grounds at the public high school on Academy Road in Pembroke. She resigned her post a month later.

“Ensuring that our students are safe in the classroom and in the school community is a top priority for the Department of Education,” said Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut.

“Thankfully incidents involving a certified educator pleading guilty to a criminal offense such as this are extremely rare,” he said in a statement. “However, when they do occur, the Department of Education acts quickly and takes all appropriate measures to ensure the safety of our students while being mindful of the rights of our educators.”

Monday’s plea and sentencing capped two years of legal maneuvering. In March of 2017, Luther requested a jury trial after first indicating that she would plead guilty. After she failed to appear for jury selection in July 2017, a warrant was issued for her arrest and the jury trial was cancelled.

She served a 20-day sentence and completed a 28-day court-approved inpatient treatment program for addiction.

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