Like many of the troubled students entrusted to her care, Maryanne Verdi claimed she could relate.
"I was an at-risk kid," Verdi said. "I was stealing, skipping, everything you can think of."
Teachers at Gulf High convinced her to straighten up and fly right. Before long, the girl who had flunked ninth grade became her school's 1988 Turnaround Award recipient.
That's when she decided to become a teacher. Sadly, the happy story ends there. The 40-year old Verdi has been charged with lewd and lascivious battery and sexual activity with a minor.
Authorities say she had sex with a 15-year-old boy, a high-school student, in December 2009 when she was a teacher at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey.
According to the arrest report, Verdi recently had sex once again with the victim, who is now 17 years old. That encounter allegedly happened in Verdi's car.
Maryanne Verdi is no stranger to trouble. In March of 2009, she was arrested in a domestic battery assault case with her husband, who was a police officer.
In September of this year, at Sunlake High School, Verdi was in the hot-seat again - with school board officials. The teacher was accused of using foul language with students, calling co-workers nasty names and talking about alcohol, drugs and jail during class time. When confronted about her behavior, school officials say Verdi became "extremely argumentative," threatening lawsuits, using profanity and "calling one official inappropriate and unprofessional names including 'f---ing nerd.' "
Verdi resigned from the district on October 3rd, the same day detectives began investigating the allegations of sex with the student, something detectives say Verdi admitted to her boyfriend.
Maryann Verdi Facebook Discussion Page