A Northland school teacher has been censured after her conviction for driving with nearly five times the legal alcohol limit and getting behind the wheel while her licence was suspended.

Michelle Beryl Campbell, 46, a teacher at Whau Valley School, was sentenced by the Whangarei District Court in May to four months' community detention and disqualified from driving indefinitely.

She blew 1236 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath on January 30 and, despite being suspended from driving for 28 days, she was caught behind the wheel on Three Mile Bush Rd while on her way to work 12 days later.

The legal limit for drivers 20 years and over is 250mcg.


Ms Campbell had a previous conviction for drink-driving in 2014 when she recorded an alcohol level of 1192mcg.

The New Zealand Teachers' Disciplinary Tribunal's Complaints' Assessment Committee censured and imposed conditions on her practising certificate for three years.

Ms Campbell needs to inform her current or future employer of the disciplinary proceeding, submit to breath alcohol testing for three years, and provide monthly reports to the Education Council from an alcohol and drug counsellor.

In April this year, she entered into an agreement with the committee not to teach anywhere other than at Whau Valley School.

The school required her to undertake a breath alcohol test daily and, on the morning of May 26, she returned a reading of 90mcg.

She explained the presence of alcohol in her system was as a result of drinking the previous night.

She is on leave by agreement with the school.

Ms Campbell admitted to the tribunal she was an alcoholic and the steps she was taking to address her addiction.


The committee said the earlier conviction for drink-driving in 2014 should have been a salient lesson to her.

"In circumstances where she had previously been convicted of drink-driving, was not awaiting sentencing on further charges, the matters were before the Education Council, and her employment was in jeopardy, a prudent person would have abstained from alcohol completely," the committee said.

However, the committee acknowledged alcohol's grip on an addict often overrode responsible decision making.

In sentencing her in May, Judge Duncan Harvey was amazed Ms Campbell was able to function with such a reading.