New Principals To Lead Leon Schools

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By: Andy Alcock
June 25, 2014

Paul Lambert is packing up his assistant principal's office at Chiles High School.

After more than 30 years in education including the last 15 at Chiles, Lambert will be the new principal at Canopy Oaks Elementary.

"It is a different age group, but leading a school is about helping the teachers," said Lambert.

"We're excited about the change," said Canopy Oaks parent Acey Stinson. "We're excited we have someone with experience," he said.

Stinson is part of a group of parents and teachers who had a series of meetings with top district leaders, including Superintendent Jackie Pons, about previous principal Brooke Brunner who's moving to Oak Ridge Elementary.

Stinson claims Brunner didn't work well with parents or teachers and let several teachers go without cause including his wife Wendy.

"And I think the superintendent listened to what the teachers had to say and made a change," Stinson said.

"Yes we took in input, but that wasn't the determining factor," said Elementary Schools Division Director Peggy Youngblood.

She says Brunner applied and was chosen for the Oak Ridge job to help improve the school.

"I don't know how involved parents are, but I would tell them to pay attention to what's going on at their school," said Stinson.

"I don't have any concerns in that regard at all with her going to another school," Youngblood said. "She has a lot of strengths," she said.

Other changes include Laura Brooks leaving Conley Elementary to lead Deerlake Middle.

Her move means Taka Mays will move from Oak Ridge principal to be the new Conley principal.

Taita Scott is being promoted from assistant principal to principal at Woodville Elementary due to Nancy Stokely's retirement.

Lambert looks forward to his new challenge.

"I'm sure there's a lot of things there I need to know about and that we can get worked out," he said.

News Release: Leon County Schools
June 24, 2014

Tallahassee, FL— Superintendent Jackie Pons announced the following district staff and school principal assignments for the 2014-15 school year:

Title 1 and Special Services—Pam Hightower is being appointed to serve as the Director of Title 1 and Special Services. Dr. Hightower, a longtime Leon County educator and former principal of Bond Elementary School, will serve alongside Carolyn Spooner until her retirement in October 2014, at which time Dr. Hightower will assume full responsibility for the position.

Professional Learning—Shane Syfrett is being appointed to serve as the Director of Professional Learning. Mr. Syfrett has been the principal of Deerlake Middle School for the past seven years. Mr. Syfrett will serve alongside Jo Marie Olk until her retirement in December 2014, at which time Mr. Syfrett will assume full responsibility for the position.

Deerlake Middle School—Laura Brooks is being appointed principal of Deerlake Middle School. Mrs. Brooks has served as principal of Conley Elementary School for the past five years. Prior to becoming principal at Conley, Mrs. Brooks served as assistant principal at Hartsfield Elementary and a guidance Counselor at Deerlake.

Conley Elementary School—Taka Mays is being appointed principal of Conley Elementary School. Mrs. Mays has served as principal of Oak Ridge Elementary for the past five years. Prior to becoming principal at Oak Ridge, Mrs. Mays served as assistant principal at Gilchrist Elementary.

Oak Ridge Elementary School—Brooke Brunner is being appointed as a turnaround principal at Oak Ridge Elementary School. As a turnaround principal, Mrs. Brunner will also assist the district in working with other schools to increase student achievement. Mrs. Brunner has served as the principal of Canopy Oaks Elementary for the past two years. Prior to becoming principal at Canopy Oaks, Mrs. Brunner served as assistant principal at Ft. Braden School.

Canopy Oaks Elementary School—Paul Lambert is being appointed principal of Canopy Oaks Elementary. Mr. Lambert has served as assistant principal at Chiles High School for the past four years. Prior to being named assistant principal at Chiles, Mr. Lambert served as the Chiles High School Athletic Director for eleven years.

Woodville Elementary School—Taita Scott is being appointed principal of Woodville Elementary School. Mrs. Scott has served as the assistant principal at Woodville for the past three years. Mrs. Scott will work alongside current principal Mrs. Nancy Stokely until her retirement in September 2014, at which time Mrs. Scott will assume full responsibility for the position.

Assistant principal assignments will be sent to the Board for approval in July.

Pam Hightower

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