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East County Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018 12 months ago

Lakewood Ranch High loses its principal

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Craig Little has accepted the same position at the new high school in Parrish.
by: Amelia Hanks Community Reporter

Craig Little’s excitement about being named the principal at the new School District of Manatee County high school in Parrish is tempered by the fact he will miss his Lakewood Ranch High School family.

Little assumes his new post Jan. 7 in Parrish. Although the district has been referring to the school as North River High School, the name has yet to be approved.

“There’s some excitement professionally to open a new school because it’s a once-in-a lifetime experience,” Little said. “But it’s definitely bittersweet. I spent over half of my career (at Lakewood Ranch). I’m going to miss the people and the relationships with the students. My goal at the new school will be to bring that same sense of pride.”

He has been Lakewood Ranch High’s principal for four years.

Little began working in the School District of Manatee County as a physical education instructor in 2001 at Lakewood Ranch High. He subsequently worked as an assistant principal at Carlos E. Haile Middle School, Louise R. Johnson Middle School and as an assistant principal at Lakewood Ranch High before being named principal in 2014.

Little said he will take lessons learned at Lakewood Ranch and use them at North River.

“I want to work with the community in Parrish,” he said. “I’ve seen how successful Lakewood Ranch High School has been because of the support of the community. I now know what the impact a community can have on a high school.”

Although North River High won’t open until August, Little has to assume the post so he can hire staff and get the school ready for its opening.

“It has been tough,” Little said of his decision to leave Lakewood Ranch High. “We spend so much time with our colleagues, almost more than our families on any given week. It’s a special place and (the relationships) aren’t something that happen overnight.”

The district noted in a release that it wants to hire a new Lakewood Ranch High principal by winter break.

Besides naming Little as the North River principal last week, the district also named Angela Lindsey, principal at Louise R. Johnson Middle School, as the first principal of the new Mona Jain Middle School (opening in August) in Lakewood Ranch.

Lindsay was a student with Jain at Bayshore High School, and later the two worked together in the district’s Head Start program.

“I am so inspired to have this opportunity,” Lindsey said. “Having (Jain) as the namesake, I am honored.”

Lindsey came to the School District of Manatee County in 1986 as a math teacher at W.D. Sugg Middle School. She was a department chair and team leader at Braden River Middle before serving as an assistant principal at Haile Middle and Johnson Middle. Lindsey was principal of Blanche H. Daughtrey Elementary from 2009-2012 before being named principal at Johnson.

“What I love about the area is that it’s growing,” Lindsey said of East County. “I’m familiar with families and with the needs of the area.”

Lindsey’s first goal will be to hire the teachers.

“Teachers make the difference,” she said. “We’re hiring the best to put in front of the students. I want to establish a great and safe learning environment so that students can grow and excel into lifelong learners.”

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