Former Norwin High teacher pleads guilty in drug case
A former gym, health and drug education teacher at Norwin High School pleaded guilty Tuesday to three criminal charges for selling heroin to a police informant in 2015.
Lisa M. Rodnicki, 39, of Apollo told Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Feliciani she was guilty but declined to speak further about her case that resulted in the end of her career as a teacher.
“She has been drug free now for the last three years,” said defense attorney Bill McCabe. “She entered inpatient treatment and has done outpatient treatment. She's now reached a point in her life where she wants to move on.”
Rodnicki, the daughter of Norwin School District Superintendent William Kerr, pleaded guilty to felony counts of drug delivery and drug possession and one misdemeanor charge of possession of heroin.
A secondary case in which she was charged with conspiring with her now-ex-husband was dismissed.
Assistant District Attorney Barbara Jollie said the prosecution offered no deal for a specific sentence as part of the plea bargain.
Rodnicki could face three to 23 months in jail. Feliciani also could impose a mitigated probation sentence under state guidelines, Jollie said.
Feliciani will sentence Rodnicki in about three months.
Rodnicki was arrested following a police sting on March 26, 2015. According to court records, after teaching school, Rodnicki drove to an informant's home and was given $300 to purchase heroin in McKeesport. Police said they followed Rodnicki as she made the trip and pulled her over in North Huntingdon after she turned the drugs over to the informant.
Investigators said they also found heroin stamp bags on her and in her car.
As a result of the arrest, she was suspended from her teaching job at the school and, McCabe said Tuesday, she will never again be allowed to teach children.
She currently works as an adult educator in Lower Burrell, teaching courses on medical laws and ethics, computers and hospital billing, McCabe said.
“She deeply regrets what happened, and it was only because she became addicted to heroin,” McCabe said.
Her ex-husband, Mark Rodnicki, 37, of Irwin, has criminal charges pending related to allegations he sold drugs to an informant and a separate case in which he is accused of threatening the same informant.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer.