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Superintendent Fiorentino Kicks Off Campaign

Supporters in attendance included a lifelong Democrat and a longtime friend who says Fiorentino taught her how to wear sneakers—rhinestone sneakers, that is.

Supporters turned out in droves for Pasco County Schools Superintendent Heather Fiorentino's campaign kick-off celebration Tuesday at Pappa's Ranch Steahouse.

Teachers, administrators, former school board members, county officials and longtime friends mingled, collected ballot petition signatures and pledged their support for Fiorentino's campaign.

Sue Beane, a lifelong Democrat, said being there surrounded by Republicans was not the least bit painful.

"I never go into things lightly," Beane said. "I'm here because Heather has proven herself to me through the performance of the school district over the past eight years."

"And I'm a hard sell," she added.

Beane, a behavior specialist at Odessa Elementary, said she has been on the budget committee and witnessed first-hand the complicated process that administering a shrinking budget involves.

"The district is still flourishing despite the economic downfall," Beane said. Fiorentino has "made good decisions for the county."

Fiorentino has been in office for eight years and "has proven herself," Beane said.

Retired Pasco County teacher Maria Houmis of Palm Harbor said she has known Fiorentino since they taught together at Mittye Locke Elementary in New Port Richey in 1984.

"I've supported her since the first time she ran," Houmis said.

The duo goes way back, said Houmis, who retired in 2006 after teaching in Pasco County for 30 years.  

Fiorentino "taught me how to wear tennis shoes and I taught her how to wear heels."

But those tennis shoes "had to have rhinestones," she laughed.

Houmis "got me into fancier scarves," Fiorentino said.

Sunray Elementary dropout prevention resource teacher James Grace said he gets goosebumps reflecting on his favorite Fiorentino memory.

Grace, who also captains the school's All Pro Dads club, said the group organized a complete home makeover for the family of Sunray student Emily Tipton in November.

Word had gotten out through the district that the organization was going to be renovating the home, Grace said.

Fiorentino showed up with a cooler full of waters, said hello and asked to be pointed toward the paint brushes.

"She painted for four straight hours," Grace said."All she wanted to do was work."

That's when he knew she was a "get'er done girl," he said.

"She's just so concerned, and I think that's what makes her so wonderful," Karen Hanzel of Wesley Chapel said.

Art Hayhoe February 09, 2012 at 04:54 PM
A Democrat supporting Fiorentino is very strange. I suppose you also supported Bill Buntings manipulation of the process to keep a Republican in that office, and we will seem more of that this election. When she was in the legislature did you also support her idea for guns in cars in school parking, which Bill Bunting found very exciting?

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