Nicole Zivich, 24, used to be the cheerleading coach at Estero High School near Ft. Myers, Florida. Not anymore. In November, she was terminated. And according to emails the ex-coach dug up through open records laws, she said it had to do with complaints from a parent that included comments about her second job: being a waitress at Hooters.
"Who writes 232 emails about one person in three months?," said Zivich, who uncovered the messages sent from the parent to school officials. "That's more than an email a day...It's obviously what I would call a personal vendetta against me."
Fox4 in Florida explains the nature of the emails:
Personal comments all from one cheerleader's mom who refers to Zivich as an "inexperienced 24 year old Hooters waitress" with "no professional credentials," lacking "maturity and judgment" to be a cheerleading coach. She also added in another email that her daughter "won't be waiting tables" like her coach.
They also reveal a curious chain of events:
At first, Estero Principal George Glover defended Zivich. In an email he said: "Nicole will never ask our girls to do anything that has not been approved in the area of safety" and added he was "thrilled" to have her.
But as the parent took her concerns higher up the chain Superintendent Joseph Burke stepped in saying in September: "Mr. Clover has been advised to look for replacements."
"Why wasn't I brought down and asked, 'Hey what's going on?,'" said Zivich.
"They never asked for your side of the story?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"Never," she said.
So far, Zivich hasn't gotten many answers. At a recent school board meeting, she and her squad -- which went on strike, so to speak -- were promised them, but in a subsequent meeting were told that the district will not comment on personnel matters:
The parent behind the e-mails spoke out to Fox4 and said her concerns were not all about Hooters, but rather about the stunts the girls were performing -- and a bikini car wash the girls staged in the past:
As for the school board, it contends the Hooters job was not a factor in the firing. But Zivich says she still doesn't know why she was fired.
Fox4 in Florida did a recent follow-up report that shows the superintendent, Joseph Burke, may not be being completely honest in the incident. He has claimed that the decision to fire Zivich was all principal George Clover's ideas. But Zivich has said she and Clover had a great relationship and that didn't make much sense. And now, emails show that Burke may have been behind the firing:
"It was his decision," said Burke. "For us to pretend that this was something that the board or the superintendent directed, or that we made the decision to take action in this case, is just not accurate."
But public records obtained by Zivich seem to show that's exactly what happened.
In email after email Estero principal George Clover defends Zivich - telling a parent who sent multiple emails critical of Zivich that he thought she was "excellent in this role," that her "credentials for being a cheering coach are very solid" and that he was "thrilled" she was coaching.
While Burke says the firing was the principal's doing, his own words seem to suggest something else.
In emails, Burke says Clover "cannot continue to condone the behavior" described by that complaining parent. And a month before Zivich was fired, he told school board member Jeanne Dozier: "Mr. Clover has been advised to look for replacements."
So, if Clover had been "advised" to look for replacements, was the decision to fire Zivich really his own?
Read the entire report here.