Ms. Gornall practices local governmental law, with a specific focus on education and special education law. She represents many school districts in the northwest Pennsylvania region in the capacity of general solicitor and also as special counsel for special education matters or other specific projects. Ms. Gornall provides guidance to school districts involved in the special education mediation process and represents school districts in due process hearings. She has experience in a wide range of school issues such as student discipline matters including expulsion procedures, hearings and student discipline policy drafting; student records and privacy issues; public meeting procedures; constitutional issues affecting students; public records and ethics laws; transportation contracts; construction building projects; and many other procedural and legal issues that confront both school district administrations and boards of directors. Ms. Gornall also represents regional municipal entities such as townships, boroughs and municipal authorities, including port authorities, airport authorities and water and sewer authorities.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Successfully prosecutes over 50 student expulsion hearings annually
  • Revised Erie Public School District’s student discipline policies, truancy policy and child abuse reporting policy
  • Filed and successfully completed over 100 condemnations of blighted property located in the City of Erie on behalf of the Erie Redevelopment Authority

Representative Clients

  • Bradford Area School District
  • Brookville Area School District
  • Cameron County School District
  • Corry Area School District
  • Erie's Public Schools
  • Erie Regional Airport Authority
  • Jamestown Area School District
  • Keystone Area School District
  • Penn-Trafford School District
  • Ridgway Area School District
  • Riverview Intermediate Unit VI
  • Titusville Area School District
  • Valley Grove School District

Honors

  • Inaugural Recipient of 2005 Generation-E Leadership Award, Young Erie Professionals

Publications

  • "PA School Law Handbook 2005," PA School Board Association, contributing editor

Speaking Engagements

  • Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA)'s Annual Spring Legal Roundup, 2009–2017
  • Presentation for Warren County School District: Section 504 Disability Law, December 2016
  • PASA-PSBA School Law Workshop, October 2015
  • Firm's Child Abuse Reporting and Clearances Update Lunch & Learn, October 2015
  • Firm's Annual Municipal Law Symposiums (multiple years), Special Education Topic
  • School District Policy Review, North East School District, August 2014
  • Child Abuse Reporting Requirements training, Erie's Public Schools, August 2014
  • PA Open Records Act Seminar 2008–2009
  • School Solicitor’s Symposium, PA School Board Association 2001
  • Frequent speaker at regional school district meetings and other school training sessions

Community & Professional Service

  • WQLN, Board Member 2008–present
  • Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Board Member
  • Hamot Health Foundation, Board of Corporators, 2017-present
  • Erie Cemetery Association, Board of Corporators, 2017-present
  • The Ophelia Project, Board Member 1998–2006
  • Community House, Inc., Board Member 1998–2002
  • March of Dimes, "Ambassador Family", 2004, Board Member 2005–2007, Board President 2006–2007
  • ECBA Attorneys & Kids Together, Participant
  • City of Erie Diversity Task Force, Member 2006–2008
  • Erie County Truancy Task Force, Member 2008–present

Firm Involvement

  • Shareholder

Practice Area

Education

  • The Dickinson School of Law, J.D.; Dickinson Law Review, Articles Editor; Woolsack Honor Society, Member; American Bar Association Section of Urban, State and Local Government Law Award
  • College of William and Mary, B.A.

Admissions & Certifications

  • Pennsylvania

Professional Affiliations

  • Erie County Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, Zone 7 Delegate to House of Delegates, 1997–1998
  • National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys, Board of Directors, 2008-2010

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