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FishHawk Ranch Blog & Events

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06 September . 2017

Meet the Principals

There’s a lot to be proud of when you live in FishHawk Ranch. When it comes to education, the public schools within our community are at the top of the class in the highly regarded Hillsborough County School District.

At FishHawk Ranch, we strongly believe in being community partners at the schools where our students attend. By sponsoring several events throughout the year for teachers, including a back to school breakfast, we hope to show educators how much their efforts are valued and appreciated. We thought you’d like to get to know the principals at Stowers Elementary, Barrington Middle and Newsome High.

Catherine Lennard, Principal at Stowers Elementary School, has been an educator for nearly a quarter century, and has been the principal at Stowers since it opened in 2009. She enjoys the awesome kids and families stating, “There’s a great sense of community here because our families are very active and involved with the school”. In addition to having the opportunity to help develop well-rounded students, she’s very proud of their commitment to community service. Stowers Elementary is very involved with Relay for Life, raising a lot of money for the organization. They also collect food for the holidays and participate in other fundraising or clothing drives throughout the year. This builds well-rounded children who learn leadership skills and how to be good citizens. They focus on giving students as many opportunities as possible to learn, grow and be leaders, enjoying their partnership with Newland Communities and FishHawk Ranch. “It provides us the resources we need so that every child can be successful and shows that our community is just as invested as we are as educators and parents, making FishHawk Ranch a great place to live and work”. Catherine loves to welcome all the new families to Stowers, but always looks forward to the annual holiday Tri-School Concert, where students from Stowers, FishHawk Ranch Elementary and Bevis Elementary Schools perform at Park Square.  “It’s great to celebrate as a community”, she says.  “Plus, since our mascot is the Cowboy, we have a lot of Cowboy pride!”

 Amy Rappleya, Principal at Barrington Middle School, is the fifth year principal of one of the largest schools in the district with 1,424 students. Students in grades six through eight attend Barrington, which uses an interdisciplinary team teaching approach.  Amy is proud of the amazing teachers and support staff at Barrington and loves to see the change in students as they come in as sixth graders and leave as eighth graders, watching them grow academically, socially and physically. Barrington is the only middle school in the district utilizing interdisciplinary team teaching across the entire curriculum, believing it’s best for students. The transition between elementary and middle school can be difficult, but their team teaching approach lessens the anxiety students might have. “When they come in as sixth graders, students soon realize they have a home here and a team that supports them. That makes a tremendous difference in their academic and social success”, says Amy.  “And the support from FishHawk Ranch and Newland Communities shows us that the community is looking out for our best interests.” As Amy focuses on this year, she is excited about the many different extra-curricular clubs and opportunities it offers students.  For instance, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) club is headed to a national competition.It’s exciting to see what the kids and teachers – their advisors – are going to do. I also look forward to parents being as involved as possible in their children’s education.”

 Carla Brunning, Principal at Newsome High School has been an educator for nearly 40 years, and for the last six years, has led the school’s nearly 2,600 students. What does she enjoy most about her job?  “I love the students!  They’re so much fun.  They have a fresh outlook, and I like to see them learn, try new things and challenge themselves.” Named 2015 -2016 Principal of the Year for the Florida PTSA means Carla has been able to help students by nurturing relationships with students, teachers, parents and the community. “When you have respect and rapport built up with students, you can positively influence them.  That’s my philosophy, if you respect students, they will allow you to teach them.”  Barrington is set apart from others in the district because they have so much parental support for academic achievement.  “Parents want their children to achieve as much as they can, and the students want that for themselves as well. A large majority of our students go on to college and our graduation rate is 98%”, Carla states. "Support from FishHawk Ranch and Newland Communities has made a difference by showing the students they’re not on an island; that they’re part of a community that supports and cares for them, while also letting the teachers know the community appreciates what they do."  Carla looks forward each year to seeing the students find their way, new ninth graders come in and undergo a miracle process of growing and maturing before they graduate. Ever since Newsome opened its doors to students in 2003, they have excelled at academics, sports, and the arts, and Carla plans to keep it that way!