Published: Aug 05, 2010 12:31 AM EDT
Updated: Aug 04, 2010 6:36 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - North Nicholas High School lost its principal due to trying to start his own charter school and allowing his students to cheat on exams.  

He was fired for "engaging in activity that was contrary to the interest of his employer," according to Burt Saunders, an attorney representing Community Education Partners and Accelerated Learning Solutions, the school's two management companies.

Michael D'Angelo admitted to proposing an idea for a new collegiate charter academy in Cape Coral, but said he was not being disloyal.

"That, in my opinion, doesn't have anything to do with what we're doing at North Nicholas," he said. "That's two totally different types of students. ... My loyalty has been at North Nicholas ever since we started a school there."

D'Angelo has been principal of the school since it opened two years ago.

He also claimed he never allowed students to cheat. Some students might have cheated, but he never instructed them how to do it.

"Kids will try to cheat - it's not new and it's not going to stop in 2010," D'Angelo said. "At no time have we ever condoned cheating."

But Saunders said D'Angelo let some students use educational search engines to check test answers. He said D'Angelo twice received written notice to stop, but he "refused to make any changes."

School officials banned the search engines in February when they suspected students of cheating. The search engines were eventually reinstated, and D'Angelo believed the cheating may have happened before they were banned.

School operators are looking to hire a new principal within the next few weeks.