Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fiorentino keeps job as Pasco schools superintendent

Superintendent Heather Fiorentino, left, greets longtime supporter Susan Morgan in Beacon Woods on Tuesday.


Superintendent Heather Fiorentino, left, greets longtime supporter Susan Morgan in Beacon Woods on Tuesday.

Despite furious opposition from the employees association, Pasco schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino claimed victory in her re-election bid Tuesday.

Fiorentino captured about 53 percent of the vote. She thanked the employees attending her celebration party for their backing.

"It's the hard work of all the employees that has allowed me the successes I've had. I feel very honored that the voters would put me back in office to lead," she said.

Fiorentino acknowledged the campaign against her and said the time has come to get past the divisions.

"We need to work together to be sure we're doing what's right for our children and the community," she said.

Then she took off her cowboy hat and waved it in the air. "Yahoo, we won!" Cake came next.

Challenger Steve Donaldson, a Gulf High social studies teacher, had a strong showing of supporters waving signs and promoting their candidate outside polling places.

But the effort did not translate into the victory that he had hoped for.

"I'm a little disappointed," Donaldson said from his election party. Still, he called his vote tally of about 47 percent a "moral victory" and said he would continue to work for education. "I'll do everything I can to keep positive improvement of the schools," he said, refusing to rule out a rematch in four years.

Fiorentino became superintendent in 2004 after a bruising Republican primary battle against Chuck Rushe, whom retiring district chief John Long had picked as his successor. She then easily won the general election.

During her term, she engendered some ill will among employees, who argued she did not consider their views when making decisions. When Donaldson, a teacher, jumped into the race, the association quickly threw its support behind him.

The campaign that followed focused heavily on leadership and morale issues. Fiorentino ran on her record of accomplishments, while Donaldson argued that the district could be better with a superintendent who collaborates more regularly.

Many voters who turned out Tuesday knew little about the superintendent's race. Some, though, said they studied the candidates.

"It shouldn't just be about the president," said Brent Coleman, 29, a substitute teacher and college student from Wesley Chapel. "We've got to take care of our community also."

Coleman wouldn't say who he supported for superintendent. But Anne Cimador, 63, a retired educator from Land O'Lakes, voted for Fiorentino.

"Change may be good," she said, "but let's not fix what is not broken."

Fiorentino keeps job as Pasco schools superintendent 11/04/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 7, 2008 12:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Pete qualifying ends. Seven for mayor. Eight for District 6 on primary ballot


    The smiles of the faces of the workers in the City Clerk’s office said it all. The qualifying period for city elections was almost over.

    City Clerk Chan Srinivasa (2nd left) and Senior Deputy City Clerk  Cathy Davis (1st left) celebrate the end of qualifying period with colleagues on Friday afternoon
  2. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  3. Registered sexual predator charged in assault of woman in Brooksville

    Public Safety

    Times Staff Writer

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County deputies arrested a registered sexual predator Thursday after they say he attempted to assault a woman and fled into a storm drain.

    Lee Roy Rettley has been charged with attempted homicide, attempted sexual battery and home invasion robbery.
  4. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags


    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]
  5. Former CEO of Winn-Dixie parent joining Hong Kong company


    The former CEO of the Jacksonville-based parent of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, Ian McLeod, has landed a new leadership role in Hong Kong. He is joining the pan-Asian based Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. as group chief executive.

    Ian McLeod, who is stepping down as the CEO of the parent company of Winn-Dixie, has been hired by Dairy Farm International Holdings. 
[Photo courtesy of Southeastern Grocers]