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Popular Sanibel teacher resigns

By Staff | Mar 10, 2015

Lee County schools confirm that a popular music teacher has resigned his position at the Sanibel School.

Joseph Angelo had been on unpaid suspension for alleged misconduct. He was alleged last year to have misused school computers during the workday, assertions that he and his many supporters said it untrue. Angelo declined comment on the resignation. A district spokeswoman confirmed it.

Supporters stood by the longtime music instructor and school performance director.

“Joe Angelo was a great teacher and mentor at the Sanibel School for 10 years, and we are extremely sorry that he has resigned from the Lee County School District,” islander Arlene Dillion said. ” He will be sorely missed, however we respect his decision and his privacy and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Angelo, from the outset, said Sanibel School administrators misinterpreted his computer use during school hours, even bungling the investigation. Angelo, whose wife also works at the school, is alleged to have violated codes of conduct on his work computer. Alleged misuse included trolling for market updates, shopping, possible inappropriate website/email visits, all of which he and his supporters insisted could be clarified. School officials have not commented on the matter.

Following Angelo’s Jan. 13 suspension, supporters went to work to review the allegations made against him. Parents dissected a transcribed district report on his workday conduct, including an interview in district offices in Fort Myers. District administrators and a teacher’s guild representative were present at the interview.

Based on the interview and a Sanibel School analysis of Angelo’s work computer he was placed on unpaid leave. Lee County Schools wouldn’t comment on specifics.

“It is reprehensible what has happened to Joe Angelo,” Captiva parent Rene Miville said at the time of the suspension. “Look at the (investigation) report. There are no findings, no proof. It’s as if he’s guilty until proven innocent. It’s just not right.”

Angelo had been Sanibel School’s music instructor and staged student plays regarded by many as top tier.

A pre-Christmas musical was sold out. Angelo was under administrative investigation during rehearsals and staging of the Christmas play, parents later learned. Angelo at holiday break was dispatched to district offices, where he reported until his Jan. 13 suspension.

Sanibel School administrators has since replaced Angelo. Auditions for the Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” included the school’s new instructor, administrators and the school librarian.

The play is in May.