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BACK TO SCHOOL 2010: The Principal: Steve Dragon

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  • | 4:00 a.m. August 12, 2010
  • Sarasota
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Some kids at Southside Elementary might actually want to be sent to the new principal’s office. It’s an office of wonder, complete with dragon kites, dragon books, stuffed animals and a colorful dragon rug. Steven Dragon’s namesake collection was started by one of his students in 1986, when she gave him a ceramic dragon for Christmas. He proudly displayed it on his desk, and others have continued his collection.

The newest principal of Southside Elementary isn’t so new to the school. He started his education career there, teaching fifth grade at the age of 22.

“This is like coming home, coming full circle,” says Dragon, who is in his 28th year of education. “I had great respect for the principal at the time I was teaching here and he really cared about people. I learned that from him.”

With 710 students arriving back to school in two weeks, the principal is looking forward to getting settled, rather than making any big changes.

“I want to relearn how Southside works and get to know the staff and the families and, obviously, the kids. I’m anxious to begin to build those relationships,” says Dragon, who spent nine years as Gocio Elementary’s principal. “I can’t wait to meet the kids. That’s why we’re all here — it’s all about the kids.”

However, there are two immediate changes Dragon is looking forward to implementing. He’d like to reinstate the morning news show starring the kids, as well as having a quarterly awards assembly to recognize the students.

“I’m working on the same tasks but at a different location, and sometimes the priorities are different,” says Dragon. “Southside has a great energy — the parents are really excited, they get involved and assume responsibility. It’s so easy to say thank you. I never lose sight of the fact that I can’t say thank you enough.”

As a teacher, it was creating/developing an end-of-unit culminating activity entitled ‘Colonial Day at Southside.’ As a student myself, it was my fourth-grade teacher reading aloud ‘Island of the Blue Dolphins.’


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