- November 16, 2018
LAKEWOOD RANCH — Craig Little’s eyes show his passion for Lakewood Ranch High School.
During a community forum to select Lakewood’s next principal, Little’s enthusiasm about the school’s next chapter and his familiarity with Lakewood won over forum attendees, who included Executive Director of Secondary Schools Cynthia Saunders.
“I think because he’s currently there (at Lakewood Ranch High), he is very familiar with all the strong aspects that are in place,” Saunders said. “I’m hopeful he would support those and move forward. I liked that he had a plan to raise academic achievement, and I felt like he would stay for a while.”
Saunders and the four other members of her interview committee recommended Little for the open principal position, for which schools Superintendent Rick Mills announced his support July 3.
The Manatee County School District will vote on Little’s appointment at its next meeting, July 22.
At the recent forum, parents addressed concerns about their children’s safety in the school’s bathrooms.
Little plans to enforce stricter rules on bathroom privileges to help prevent drugs and bullying on campus.
“I think students should have a pass book that shows when they leave their classes to go to the bathroom,” Little said. “The next teacher can look at the student’s sheet, and, unless it’s an emergency, say, ‘No, you just went to the bathroom at this time.’ I think that will help.”
Little will also enforce the 90/10 model, which states that 90% of school disciplinary issues are caused by 10% of the school’s population, Little explained. He plans to target those students and find ways to help them, he said.
Little will also maintain the school’s “no fly zone,” which prohibits students from leaving class the first and last 10 minutes of class — two of the most crucial timeframes, Little said. Teachers review what the students learned the previous class in the first few minutes of class and summarize the day’s lesson in the last 10 minutes, he said.
Although Little spoke frequently about the need for more administrator presence, he reminds his students and their families that education is his focus.
“First of all, this school is an educational institution,” Little said. “I’m focused on closing the achievement gap. I’m going to identify students who are struggling by analyzing test scores and data, so we can help get them on track. We need to create those safety nets to help them succeed.”
Little has been an assistant principal at Lakewood for four years. Prior to 2010, he worked as a physical education teacher at Lakewood Ranch High from 2001 to 2005. The New Jersey native then accepted his first assistant principal position at Haile Middle School.
The father of a 6-year-old, Alyssa, said his evolution as a teacher and as an assistant principal at the school he will now lead has prepared him for his next role.
“(It) really means coming full circle,” Little said. “I’m in the business of building relationships and that’s what I’ve done since I started here, as a teacher and then as an administrator. I told parents and students,
I know the faculty here. I’ve worked alongside them for years.”
Contact Amanda Sebastiano at [email protected].