UPDATED: Superintendent John C. McGee To Be Suspended and Officially Reprimanded for Plagiarism

Florence school superintendent suspended for plagiarism

UPDATE (7-18-2013): 


FLORENCE – The Florence-Carlton School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday night to suspend superintendent John McGee for 10 working days without pay as a disciplinary action for his plagiarism in the school newsletter. McGee will also have a letter of reprimand placed in his permanent file.

During the special meeting, which was called specifically to address McGee’s plagiarism, the board heard two hours worth of emotional testimony from the public, with some adamantly supporting McGee and others demanding more severe punishment.

McGee has admitted to the school board that he put his byline on a story in the Falcon View newsletter earlier this year that was actually written by a school administrator in Georgia, and altered the article to substitute Florence for any specific references to Georgia schools.

An anonymous blogger, who operates a website called Florence Carlton Review, also has uncovered four other instances of plagiarism on the part of McGee dating back four years. McGee has apologized to the board, several classrooms of students, and the Georgia administrator whose story he plagiarized.

School board trustee Mel Finlay made a motion to terminate McGee’s employment with the district on Monday night, which was voted down 4-1 by the board.

McGee’s suspension will be March 25 until April 5. His employment contract with the school expires after this year, and the school board will vote on whether to renew his contract sometime before the end of June.

Watch www.ravallirepublic.com and missoulian.com for updates to this story later today.

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

Reporter David Erickson can be reached at david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.


  1. 28leggs – March 25, 2013 3:47 pm – I seen his punishment is during spring break, I have never seen anyone around the school during the spring break. He gets a nice little vacation then, well maybe he will use it to think about something to write in his own words then. Kristin Nie, rumor has it your a Bully? is that why you mentioned being a hot head? The people you worry about no one pays attention to but it looks like you may be the next trouble maker.
  2.  Wes A – March 21, 2013 4:19 pm – How is it that McGee commits multiple acts of plagiarism and still has 80% of the School Board support? Meanwhile the community is in disbelief that this man still has a job. Follow your tax dollars at work in this small community and I’m sure that could make it very clear.
  3. abaldwin – March 20, 2013 8:22 pm – This very thing happened in my district. The superintendent (a prior superintendent) regularly plagiarized his newsletters. It happened month after month. Because part of my job is to teach writing, I was easily able to locate the original material. Finally it came to light. He apologized for his “oversight” (he was accused only once) and carried on as usual. What a great model for students and teachers alike.
  4. raptor53 – March 20, 2013 6:42 pm – It is no mystery why many in Florence send their kids to Sentinel or Big Sky. Smart decision !
  5. hellgatenights – March 20, 2013 2:22 pm – While I detest the “Theft of ideas”……..I would summarize my issue to this point. McGee’s position is funded by your tax dollars and cannot be tainted by deceit and theft. This is unacceptable. Were this a private sector position I would vote with my dollar and NOT patronize the business. But this is a public institution …..hence, we have access to all the records and proceedings. This is a small town affair but it has big time implications because it has revealed that even in Sleepy Hollow, the public has warmed to obviously corrupt and despicable behavior. There is no issue here……..McGee has disqualified himself and is done, he just needs to clean out his desk now. That said, I would ask the community to extend compassion to McGee and assure him they do care for him and wish no trouble to beset him.
  6. 28leggs – March 20, 2013 1:36 pm – In all my years it seems like the happily married couples are the ones getting a divorced. The people that are making a lot of money are broke. So let me see in this case the ones crying about a bullying problem hummm..Are most likely the bullies. McGee claims he is a ethical man, but turns out to be a bold face liar. The board members that back him are liars. Dorothy Rhodes a few many years back emezzaled from Florece school and now sits on the board, is that the second one now? tisk tisk There is a big problem in Florence some low standards. Maybe the bully is McGee. What does he have on the school board members? Well not Mr Finley, he is a good role model for the school and Florence. Let him keep his job, lets get a board that has some guts. I’ll be watching!
  7. Curmudgeon – March 20, 2013 11:56 amStudents and parents alike should get upset when they hear or see the equivalent of: “Do as I say, not as I do.”
  8. Curmudgeon – Students and parents alike should get upset when they hear or see the equivalent of:”Do as I say, not as I do.”
  9.  reality check 4 you – People like Kristin Page Nei, Angie McCullough are the reason McGee is still their! People like these two are the bullies. All they know how to do is scream and cry while being used as puppets by John C. McGee. People like these two won’t listen too reason, rather they hide their heads in the sand and won’t listen to fact or reason. People like these two are the reason we have abortion, Barack Obama, gay marriage, welfare, illegal immigration and local corrupt officials like John C. McGee in power. People like these two and unfortunately their are many more are the reason why we have 5 unethical and non moral people on the school board. Until the moral majority wake up and stop being afraid of the liberal – progressive base screaming, bully or racist or whatever their cries are for the moment we we continue to have people like John C. McGee on the local level and Barack Obama’s on the national level. God help us all!
  10. Everyday person Perhaps the time has come for us to demand strong ethics standards for these school administrators. We have seen how frequently these handsomely-paid bureaucrats abuse the considerable power we assign to them — and how frequently they demonstrate moral degeneration. So strange that we put our children into their protection and pay these huckster administrators such absurdly high salaries for such low performance standards while paying our teachers (i.e., the ones in the trenches doing the hard work) so little and expecting so much from them. Yes, the time has come to break down these power structures and bring a little justice to our public education system.
  11. iSouthside Mom I am sooo thankful we no longer live in Florence. If you were to go back and ask for the minutes of the meetings, you will be told they will give you a copy you have to pay for. The Minutes should be public record. Anything pertaining to McGee’s contract SHOULD be in them. But then again, who is writing the minutes up? Florence as a whole is run by about 15 people including the Cornish’s, Appleby’s and Rhodes’. Look at any Board in Florence and you will find one of them. School Board, Park Board, Fire Board and Water and Sewer Board. Good Luck Florence
  12. Been There I used to write a newsletter for disabilities that was circulated statewide. I was always very careful to give credit to my sources for any article I wrote. Maybe once I can understand, especially if you have a deadline you are worried about reaching–but 4 times? I would not want this man as my superintendent. A good example for students must start at the top.
  13. reality check 4 you What a joke! 10 days for stealing, lying and cheating. You know the bible talks about false idols and the school board members, all 5 of them need to go and repent their sins. If a person does something once, that is bad enough and a sin but “6” times! The plagiarism is also the tip of the iceberg. John C. McGee has more skeletons in his closet than you’ll see on Halloween! The entire school board is a disgrace and John C. McGee is tainted and fails miserably as the “leader and head educator of the Florence School District” The ” Lance Armstrong” of Superintendents, the “Copy Cat” Super Superintendents now has another name. The “Teflon” superintendent because nothing sticks to him or how about the ” Puppet master” because his pulls all the stings of the school board! How very sad. Terminate John C. McGee and help start this area heal. God Bless us all.
  14. Voterincounty Mrs. McCrackin, you are Vickie Cornishes mother. How sad you have to defend your 60+ year old daughter for her public disgrace. I don’t believe any of your jargon from the book of Moroni, if find it offensive that our chairperson Pat Appleby allowed you to impress your religious ideals on anyone in the public school. Did you even realize that you are supporting the lowest ethics and morals in education? Does the board realize they did the same?
  15. Voterincounty If you were to analyze the content of Vickie Cornish’s 18 minute speech about how great McGee is then you’d come to realize that the board made this entire decision up prior to having the meeting! Finlay, was the puppet on the end of the string. Greger played 2nd fiddle in following the motion and voting against the action he gave a second to. Rhoades spoke softly as she has also stolen from this district in the early 80’s and sincerely thinks McGee is above the moral value of education. Appleby simply stated that she approves of McGee’s performance and that the community needs to stop bullying the superintendent and the trustee’s. Cornish claimed early in the meeting prior to any voting that ” I know there will be disciplinary action against John McGee after this meeting but I fully support him”. How did she know that without the board voting? There was a motion to TERMINATE so she let the cat’s out of the bag. One last thing to the women of the board and the few women in town that think they have been bullied: it is not bullying if someone disagree’s with your political opinion. Your not in grade school anymore so stop misusing the term Bullying. Liberals and educators need to come up with more realistic definitions if they wish to be treated like adults.
  16. ShowMe Encouraging or inviting a physical confrontation (directly from Jim Shreve the night of the meeting to another community member: “Let’s take it outside”) is bullying. Putting up signs throughout the community, including on the day of high school graduation, with personal attacks against other community members is bullying. Getting into social media posting wars with school children and attacking the parents of those children is bullying. Pushing video cameras in people’s faces and demanding their opinion or an answer to a question is bullying. Driving by those with whom you disagree and staring them down and/or making obscene gestures to them (including when their children are present) is bullying. Funny thing, I myself hate the term bullying and think it is often times overused in today’s society and schools. Labels aside, each of the above actions are flat out disrespectful and mean spirited.You are right about one thing, this is not grade school. Apparently you didn’t learn in grade school that if you don’t get your way, it is not okay to get up and stomp out. Meeting after meeting you all look like a bunch of kids that didn’t like the outcome of a school yard basketball game so you take your ball and go home. Had you stuck around for the other part of the meeting, you would have heard the board discuss various options being considered for punishment. You would have heard their invitation to hear from the community about what else might be included as part of the reprimand. Apparently your minds were made up too. It was termination or nothing.I am neither for nor against Mr. McGee. I’ve seen too many administrators, good and bad, come and go throughout the years. What I am is pro-Florence. It is my home, it is my community, and the school has been a big part of my family’s life for decades. Through your efforts to destroy Mr. McGee, you are damaging the school and community. I don’t approve of the way Mr. McGee’s plagiarism reflects on the school or the example it sets, but the same holds true for the actions of others as well. Disgrace, embarrassment and harm is coming from many sources and there is plenty of blame to go around. In my opinion, the constant negativity and turmoil over the last five years (which includes hundreds, if not thousands, of newspaper reports, editorials and social media posts) has done far more damage than any newsletter article published in the Falconview. It just simply makes me sad that we have become so fractured.
  17. old AZ hippie Certainly, some punishment is due – what example does this set for the students otherwise? However, when it’s compared to some of the other issues happening in the schools where the “leaders” are NOT held responsible, this seems to be a lower priority. I know it’s a separate issue, but I’m thinking about sports and rape, etc.
  18. Wtlbuck Well maybe the school will react differently when McGee and quite possibly others are sued for copyright infringement by kidshealth.org or The Nemours Foundation for breaking a multitude of rules regarding use of their copyrighted and licensed material in print and online. The difference between Plagiarism and Copyright Infringment is this. Plagiarism is handled by administration and Copyright Infringment is handled by the courts. On a side note, last night I spoke and tried to speak again, while many others were allowed to speak many times. I only came up to speak again, as Pat Appleby told the entire audience thatvMcGees contract renewal WAS JUST A RUMOR! I wanted to know how it was a rumor if I was told that from the District Office but they shut me down because I came up to share that I was told by Jeanie Morgan directly that McGees contract for 3 years had been renewed at the January 23,2013 meeting. They said it was a miscommunication. But would not allow me to ask how it was a miscommunication, when Jeanie repeatedly apologized to me on February 8th for not having his current contract available as the board had not yet forwarded to her. Jeanie has been with our District as the District Clerk for over a year now. How is there anyway she could have misunderstood? Jeanie also had no reason to lie or hide the information, because its public record. As I said this to the board Jeanie’s face got all red and she just shook her head no, I also told the board I was willing to sign an affidavit stating what I was told, but was dismissed and walked away…. In my opinion if you have nothing to hide, you should be open to any discussion. Especially if a person has a second comment or statement. Unless its something you don’t want those in the audience to know about……
  19. GETTOTHEPOINT I have to admit it is good atleast something is being done, but at the same time, half of his suspension is during Florence’s spring break..so he wouldn’t be working anyway..just curious…
  20. Alan Johnson – March 19, 2013 2:06 pm – I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already “down the road.” I doubt his contract will be renewed. This close to the end of the school year it’s probably better for the district than firing him and being without that administrator.
  21.  MiddleFinger – March 19, 2013 1:45 pm – “His employment contract with the school expires after this year, and the school board will vote on whether to renew his contract sometime before the end of June.”OMG! If the Florence school board renews his contract, then they will take the title of stupidest school board ever from MCPS who has all but a monopoly on it. Thompson Falls gave it a good run but the prison sentence killed their effort.Nobody is that dumb. Right? Please?
  22. CZed – Can’t be that dumb? They initially neglected to give him any sanctions at all, even when he had admitted to one instance of plagiarism. Most likely they would have had to know of the other instances that McGee wasn’t coming clean on. Then they show how cozy (at least 4 of them) are by handing down a whopping 10 days suspension. Oh by the way it seems the Florence schools spring break is the first week of April! The board will defend this by saying that particular week is a working week, but we all know the students and teachers will not be there. So yes they have proven they are dumb down there. If they even consider renewing him they will affirm it. I talked to someone who was at the board meeting and she said it was painful to watch the chair blindly defending the superintendent!
  23. rational reader Wrong…my guess is that they WILL renew his contract. I was at the meeting last night and.there was a beggars can’t be choosers theme when they talked about finding a superintendent. If the board is not completely embarrassed by their decisions in all of this they never will be. Poor Florence.
  24. hellgatenights – March 19, 2013 12:31 pm – So……what is the threshold for integrity in the public sector? Seems the bar drops a little lower every day.Here he have the leader of the school district that has admitted to cheating on his academic studies………….and he is not removed?How can this man ever command the respect of the faculty and students?He is done……..send him down the road. I get the impression that there is some sort of pity for the man, I assure you, it is misplaced.
Florence School Board may meet to address plagiarism by superintendent
FLORENCE – The Florence-Carlton School Board will consider holding a special meeting to address some community members’ concerns over acts of … Read more


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2 Responses to UPDATED: Superintendent John C. McGee To Be Suspended and Officially Reprimanded for Plagiarism

  1. Tracy Preimesberger says:

    About damn time


  2. Mother Goose says:

    He is the Bully! McGee is less than moral and some of you just haven’t saw it yet. He plagiarized an article of appreciation to his Daughter’s class that she was the VALEDICTORIAN of. Is it that hard to see this man’s dishonor? Even a simple “good job” for someone as unethical as McGee would have been better. Stupid bastard couldn’t do that, he had to settle for LIE’S, DECEPTION, STEALING, and stupidity!!! Thanks for nothing John!! My kid graduated with that class and it’s embarrassing to have you comment on that. Please refrain from lying to this community in your short lived future in Florence.


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