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Ex-Estero cheer coach confronts school board over firing

Ex-Estero cheer coach confronts school board over firing

By Matt Grant. CREATED Dec 6, 2011

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Cheerleaders went another round with the school board over the controversial firing of their coach - and this time, the canned coach also made her case.

Surrounded by the girls she used to coach, Nicole Zivich came to Tuesday's Lee County school board meeting looking for answers.

"I hope we can sort of get to the bottom of this," Zivich told reporters before going inside.

But Zivich and her former squad have been trying to get to the bottom of this for two weeks.

"We're not taking this lightly," said Estero senior Hailey Claudio. "And we're not going to stop until we get answers."

Answers that were promised by board chairperson Mary Fischer on Nov. 22.

"We certainly are sure," Fischer told cheerleaders at the last board meeting, "that you'll get some answers."

But Superintendent Joseph Burke made it clear Tuesday that those answers won't be coming.

"I hope that the students who spoke tonight," said Burke, "were not misled by anything that may have been said at a previous board meeting, we do not make public comment about personnel issues."

While the district still refuses to comment, Burke says Zivich's firing has nothing to do with her other job at Hooters or the barrage of complaints coming from parent Sue Jacobse.

"I don't know if its possible to bring her back," one cheerleader said. "I know we all want her back."

"One woman came here to get our coach fired," another cheerleader said, "so more than a dozen girls came here to get her back."

"We were promised answers at the last meeting," another girl said, "we have not received them yet and we aren't going to stop until we receive them."

Zivich says nobody from the district ever bothered to get her side. But they are hearing from her now.

"Since I have not gotten a chance to have ever met any of you," Zivich told the board, "I thought i would put a face to all of the slander you have heard."

Despite passionate pleas, Burke would only say the decision to fire Zivich was made solely by the school's principal George Clover.

"It was related to his overall determination with regard to the total situation that he was looking at," Burke said.

Zivich isn't buying it.

"I'm a little bit angry and frustrated for the girls, for myself," said Zivich. "I feel like we're getting the run around."

Zivich says she is meeting with a lawyer Wednesday and plans to sue the district.

Matt Grant, Reporter