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Heads of Class

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Meet the quartet of new principals who are taking the reins in Altamonte/Longwood-area schools

Several local schools have recently hired new principals who are all embracing their new roles and challenges.

Lyman High, Rock Lake Middle, Lake Brantley High, and Woodlands Elementary schools all have new leaders at the helm. But ironically, they all know each other well and understand that they have to work together to create a seamless transition for students who will continue to learn and grow from elementary through high school.

Trent Daniel, Ph.D., brings 27 years of teaching and administrative experience to Lake Brantley High School. With stints at several Seminole County high schools, she has overseen various educational programs including advanced reading and writing initiatives, athletics, and professional development.

“Lake Brantley is a powerhouse, and it has strong traditions,” Trent says. “My goal is to embrace those traditions by observing classroom interaction and getting a feel for curriculum and instruction. I’m also excited to learn about the athletic and arts programs and the people who make that happen.”

Trent places high value on the “triple A” experience that emphasizes a balance of academics, athletics, and the arts for students.

“As a principal, you have to support all three areas because all of these experiences prepare the students for what happens after they graduate,” she says.

Mike Rice, incoming principal at Lyman High School, agrees with Trent and believes high school should be like an internship in which you can apply the things you learn to the real world.

“Part of my job is to build relationships with stakeholders, including parents and business owners, and emphasize what we need to focus on to get the students ready for life after graduation,” says Mike, who has been in the Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) system as a teacher and administrator for 15 years.

Mike wants to continue to provide resources and support to make Lyman an even better place to learn.

“I’m tasked with finding programs where students find a sense of purpose,” he explains. “Whether it’s digital arts or physics, you want to get them ready for the next level.”

For Jordan Rodriguez, new principal at Rock Lake Middle School, the thought of working with middle-school students represents an amazing opportunity.

“Our job is to provide an environment where they can learn and grow as young teenagers and be ready to take on high school,” says Jordan, who has been a teacher and administrator in SCPS for 11 years. “My immediate goal is to observe the culture, talk to as many teachers, students, coaches, and community leaders as possible, and ensure that the curriculum feeds nicely into career development and career pathway opportunities.”

Jordan also understands that Rock Lake is already a high-achieving school with strong community support, and his goal is to continue to have his students embrace challenges and take courses to prepare them for high school.

“Most of my students feed into Lyman High School,” Jordan says, “so I want to be mindful of how I can support Mike and his programs by preparing my students accordingly.”

Patricia May is taking on her first principal job at Woodlands Elementary School, and she has embraced her new role with both passion and focus.

“The biggest thing for me is to build relationships with the students, staff, and community,” says Patricia, who worked at the assistant principal level in SCPS for six years. “It’s important at this level to be good at differentiation, or teaching to every student, because they are all different types of learners and are really still developing in every way.”

With the elementary curriculum growing and improving, Patricia wants to provide as much support for her students as possible. She sees this as a team effort that involves everyone in the community.

“Together, we all make our children successful, and engaging with them every day is what I love the most about my job,” Patricia explains. “My job is to prepare them to communicate effectively, have confidence in themselves, take on challenges, and be lifelong learners.”

 

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