The reprimand of Rymfire phys-ed teacher Travis Holloway was curt and stern: “The panel, composed of your peers, believes that, as a teacher, you are required to exercise a measure of leadership beyond reproach,” Cristina Basso, the presiding officer of the state Education Practices Commission, wrote Holloway just days ago. “By your actions, you have lessened the reputation of all who practice our profession. The profession cannot condone your actions, nor can the public who employ us.”
The Education Practices Commission investigates alleged misconduct by Florida educators and imposes penalties when they’re found to have violated codes of conduct. The commission can revoke a teacher’s certificate.
Since 2009, Holloway has been criminally charged in Volusia and Flagler for drug possession, aggravated assault, battery (three times), and child abuse. In one battery case he completed pre-trial intervention. Other charges were dropped or reduced. The child abuse charge was reduced to battery, then dropped. The aggravated assault charge was reduced to improper exhibition of a gun (the gun he threatened his girlfriend with after attacking her). He was sentenced to probation, which he tried to end early (the judge refused). That’s the conviction the Education Practices Commission was responding to. In 2018 Education Commissioner petitioned to have Holloway’s certificate revoked. Instead, the Commission and Holloway entered into a settlement agreement that included a written reprimand and a one-year probation. A Teacher Hearing Panel of the Education Practices Commission meeting on March 1 accepted the agreement and issued the reprimand.
Holloway also agreed to a psychological evaluation and submit the results to the state’s Recovery Network Program, to pay $300 toward the costs of his monitoring, a $1,000 fine to the commission, and to “violate no law and comply with all district school board regulations,” among other requirements.
“The Education Practices Commission sincerely hopes it is your intention to never allow this situation to occur again or indeed, to violate any professional obligation in fulfilling your responsibilities as an educator,” his reprimand reads. “To violate the standards of the profession will surely result in further action being taken against you.”
That was on March 1. On Friday (March 22, five days after his 39th birthday), Holloway was arrested again.
He was driving his 2002 Ford Crown Victoria westbound on State Road 100 just before 11 p.m. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper saw him driving erratically, cross lane markers and driving on the shoulder. The trooper pulled him over in a parking lot by Old Kings Road, allegedly detecting the tell-tale signs of a drunk driver: bloodshot and watery eyes, flushed face, mumbled speech, unsteady on his feet. “Holloway was slow to respond,” the trooper reported. He told the trooper that he’d had “a beer or two,” and rated himself a 3 on a scale the trooper gave him of 1 to 10, with 1 being sober and 10 being “fall down drunk.” His field sobriety tests showed “signs of impairment,” according to the trooper’s report. He took a breath test. His blood-alcohol level registered .116 and .109. The legal limit in Florida is .08. The trooper arrested him.
He had no proof of insurance and got a $116 citation for that, got a $166 ticket for failing to obey a lane marker, and was booked on a drunk driving misdemeanor at the Flagler County jail. He got out the next day on his own recognizance.
Holloway, a resident of Eric Drive in Palm Coast, has been employed in the Flagler County school district since 2003. He was teaching at Buddy Taylor Middle School at the time of his previous arrest. He’d once written a circuit judge that he could learn from his mistakes.
“I have learned a valuable lesson,” he wrote the judge a few years ago when he was trying to end his probation. He said he was responsible and knew how much he had to lose. “Through all of this my principles [sic.] and co-workers have stood by me and I was blessed enough to keep my job, which proves that I am good at what I do,” he wrote. “I am a responsible person of the community.” He said he knew he could “lose everything if I continue to make mistakes. I have learned my lesson and know what can happen if you don’t think before you act.”
Kristy Gavin, the Flagler County School Board attorney, said this evening that Holloway’s status was “in flux” at the moment, as the district was just learning of his most recent arrest, but that he was likely to be placed on administrative leave while the district conducted its own investigation. A drunk driving arrest is an incident that the driver or his or her family are required to report to the district.
“We’ll step though the process with respect to this most recent allegation that just cropped up” just as the district would with any other employee, Gavin said. But the fresh settlement agreement with the Education Practices Commission would be “a piece of information that would just be used during the process.” The district would then decide whether to return Holloway to regular duty or not. “Obviously, yes, history can be impacting on a decision.”