Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two Pasco teachers may be fired over outburst, FCAT cheating accusations

LAND O'LAKES — Two Pasco County schoolteachers who were suspended without pay two weeks ago now face dismissal for their actions.

Superintendent Heather Fiorentino has recommended firing Pasco High School language arts teacher Gregory Popovich for a violent classroom outburst that led to a student being injured with shards of broken glass. She also has proposed termination of Anclote Elementary teacher Cynthia Moyers over allegations that she helped her fourth-grade students on the FCAT.

Both teachers have appealed to the School Board to keep their jobs.

The district released details of each case on Wednesday.

According to those documents, Popovich became so upset with his students on April 7 that he slammed a textbook onto an overhead projector, shattering the glass top. The glass shards flew into the classroom, striking at least one student.

"The administration learned about this incident only after a student in your class reported to the clinic because of injuries," Fiorentino wrote in her letter to Popovich. "Administration later learned that the student had to be taken to the emergency room later due to increasing pain and that the emergency room removed several pieces of glass from the student's body, including glass in her eye."

Compounding the situation, Popovich gave inconsistent accounts of what happened in the classroom after being confronted by principal Pat Reedy and his staff, the documents state.

Popovich already had been warned to control himself in class, after a previous incident in which he swore in front of students after becoming upset with students' poor behavior, Fiorentino wrote.

She recommended firing him for failing to protect the safety of students, as required by Florida law, and also for violating the district policy on student supervision and welfare.

In Moyers' case, Fiorentino wrote that she was asking to fire the teacher for FCAT violations.

Specifically, Fiorentino stated, Moyers told students before the spring 2011 exam took place that she would tap on their desk or test booklet to let them know they had to recheck their work. This was the "same plan of communicating with your students" as reported last year, Fiorentino wrote.

"I also learned that you wrote on a student's test booklet to assist him with a particular problem, that you assisted a student with measuring on a problem, that you verbally spoke with students during the administration of the math portion of the FCAT, and that you commented in front of your class that a particular student received the most taps," Fiorentino wrote.

Moyers denied the accusations to her principal, assistant principal and an employee relations supervisor. She stated that she tapped on students' desks to remind them to keep their eyes on their own tests.

She said she did nothing improper in administering the test.

In a written statement, Moyers did say she witnessed students reading books during the math portion of the test, and students attempting to work on the wrong section of the test. Yet she did not report these problems to her school's testing administrator, Fiorentino wrote, only mentioning them when confronted about the allegations against her.

Fiorentino wrote to Moyers that she was recommending her firing for violating state testing laws as well as the state's professional code of ethics for teachers.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

>>fast facts

In other business

The Pasco School Board took the following action at its meeting Tuesday night:

• Unanimously approved 2010-11 contracts for teachers and school-related personnel. The sides had gone to impasse in the fall over disagreements regarding salary and benefits, but reached an accord before going to a special master. The deal includes a third year without raises. The United School Employees of Pasco ratified the contracts late last week.

• Adopted a mediated settlement allowing the Imagine School at Land O'Lakes, a charter school, to expand its enrollment to 584 students if it meets several caveats relating to finances.

• Suspended without pay Sunlake High School teacher Gail Fearn for an altercation with student, Wesley Chapel Elementary custodian Stephanie Powers for unsatisfactory performance, and bus driver Delores Conley for text-messaging while driving.

Two Pasco teachers may be fired over outburst, FCAT cheating accusations 05/18/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 7:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman


    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion


    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.