Shuffled principals starting anew as Collier school year begins Monday

Editor's note: The originally posted story should have referred to Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology and Lorenzo Walker Technical High School by its full name. Aviation Maintenance Technology and Surgical Technology are only offered at Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology. The story has been corrected below.

Bus riders:

■ Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and off the street.

■ Never sit on the roadway while waiting for your bus.

■ Stay away from the bus until the driver gives his/her signal that it’s OK to approach.

Students walking:

■ Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard — never cross the street against a light, even if you don’t see any traffic coming.

■ Walk with a buddy.

■ Stay off the road.

■ Never walk between parked cars.

NAPLES _ Principal Leslie Morris is excited to be a part of the Lely High School pride and tradition.

Principal Angela Lettiere wants to see Sabal Palm Elementary move from a “C” school to an “A” school.

And Principal Jack Gardner wants students to know that Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology and Lorenzo Walker Technical High School offers everything from mechanical aviation courses and culinary training to nursing and surgical certification courses.

Each of these principals is starting the 2011-12 school year Monday at a new school.

“Now I know what it’ll be like to be a child on a new campus,” Lettiere said.

Lettiere, who relocated from Big Cypress Elementary to Sabal Palm Elementary, is one of 13 principals that Collier County schools Superintendent Kamela Patton moved in July.

Patton also appointed two principals to district administrative positions and hired Gardner from Indiana as principal at Lorenzo Walker Technical Institute and High School. Gardner took over for Jeanette Johnson who helped start the school and championed career and technical education in the county.

“We’ve touched base with each of these schools and I’ll personally be visiting the 14 schools with changes the first week of school,” Patton said. “This way if anybody in the community might have a concern, I’ll be there.”

Patton said the principal shuffle was a result of state requirements, personal requests, job openings and promotions.

Although Lettiere didn’t ask to move, she said she welcomes the challenge of moving from an “A” to a “C” school.

“I respect that Dr. Patton had a tough job to do and that she thought I was capable of the job,” Lettiere said.

Moving Lettiere from Big Cypress to Sabal Palm created an uproar with the parents of Big Cypress. They protested the move and made numerous pleas with the district to keep Lettiere at the school. Bob Murray took over for Lettiere at Big Cypress.

This is the final of three days of stories in advance of Monday’s start of the school year in Collier County.

Day one: Collier, Lee school districts prepare to test teacher merit pay plans

Day two: Reduced, free lunch numbers way up in Collier, Lee schools

“When you’ve got a principal that’s left and everybody’s upset, I guess that means she’s a good principal,” said Amy Yates, the parent of an incoming fifth-grader at Sabal Palm.

Patton said because of this “buzz” over the changes at Big Cypress, she will be at the school at 7:30 a.m. Monday to help assist so that everything runs smoothly.

Lettiere said some of her former Big Cypress students have moved to Sabal Palm but she’s grateful for the outpouring of support the parents of Sabal Palm have expressed so far.

“I’ve received an overwhelming welcome from parents here. The response has been all positive,” she said.

Morris also is excited for the challenges that come with being principal at Lely High. Last year, she was principal at Golden Gate Middle School.

“I love and embrace the diversity here. Our kids are very bright and anyone that’s multilingual in my mind has a step up,” she said.

Morris has hired eight new teachers to comply with the class-size reduction law. She said her biggest challenge is parent involvement.

“At Golden Gate, I won the parent awareness award. Anytime you get parents involved, they understand what’s going on in the school,” she said.

Each principal acknowledged the support from Patton and the School Board.

Morris said board member Roy Terry attended the school opening meeting at Lely on Friday morning. Terry once was principal at Lely High School.

“The people are in place and I’m personally very excited,” Patton said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting the kids in the schools.’’

Motorists:

■ Both directions of traffic must stop when school bus stop arms and flashing red lights are displayed. The only exception is multi-lane roadways where a raised or grass divider exists. Even in these cases, traffic traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop.

■ Be aware of the speed limit and your speed, especially in school zones and around schools. A speeding ticket in a posted school zone will cost double the usual speeding fine.

Parents:

■ Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Carefully consider whether your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.

■ If your child is young or is walking to a new school, walk with them the first week to make sure they know the route and can do it safely.

Students on bikes:

■ Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride. The law requires a helmet be worn by persons under age 16.

■ Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic (younger children should use sidewalks). Walk your bike through intersections.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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