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Teacher could lose job

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Published:   |   Updated: September 25, 2013 at 09:55 AM

BROOKSVILLE - A Powell Middle School teacher who ran into legal trouble in recent years could lose his teaching position come Oct. 1.

That's when the Hernando County School Board will consider the findings of a recent investigation, and the new superintendent's recommendation to fire him.

Jesse T. Mockler, 36, a social studies teacher who has been with the district since 2005, was placed on an alternate, nonteaching assignment.

Mockler was the subject of an investigation into allegations he falsified his teaching certificate renewal application, knowingly provided a false written statement to receive certification approval, and failed to report a criminal conviction to Florida Department of Education.

School Superintendent Lori Romano wrote in an Aug. 30 letter she will recommend to the school board that Mockler's employment be terminated.

An attorney representing Mockler submitted a notice to appeal the recommendation on Sept. 16.

"I was like Matlock," Mockler said during an Aug. 22 pre-determination meeting regarding not receiving letters to renew his teaching certificate. "I don't know why I haven't gotten any of the letters. This address has been valid for 10 years."

Mockler said he recently moved to an address with two houses on the property, and that this might be why he says he did not receive the certification letters.

When asked why he didn't renew his teaching certificate prior to the June 30 deadline, Mockler said he could not afford the $104 certification cost between attorney fees and moving costs.

FDOE denied Mockler's certificate application in 2008, a transcript shows, and Department of Human Resources notified Mockler in August 2010 his certificate was suspended for failing to meet the terms of a final disciplinary order requiring him to complete consecutive drug tests.

Court records show Mockler was sentenced to one year probation on July 18 for a misdemeanor DUI charge and for refusing to submit to a breath test.

Mockler previously faced a battery charge in 2012, which was later dropped after the victim wrote a letter to the State Attorney's Office requesting the charge be dismissed.

Mockler was also arrested in 2007 on DUI and two drug-related charges, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

mreinig@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5271

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