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Mount Dora High assistant principal is finalist for state award


Marlene Straughan, Assistant Principal at Mount Dora High School, has been named a finalist for Florida’s 2017 Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award (Assistant Principal of the Year).
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart announced the finalists for the award, which recognizes assistant principals for their exceptional contributions, on Friday, April 21. The winner will be announced during a ceremony on June 21 and will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and $500 for their school.
“I am pleased to recognize these finalists for their tremendous dedication to the schools and communities they serve,” Commissioner Stewart said in a press release from her department. “Principals and assistant principals create an environment for success in their schools, and I am grateful to each of these individuals for their service to Florida’s students. I am looking forward to celebrating them.”
Ms. Straughan was a Social Studies teacher at Mount Dora High School from 2008 to 2013, when she was named assistant principal. She has distinguished herself as an outstanding leader in many ways, but most notably in her commitment to improving the Mount Dora High School graduation rate, which had been in decline for two years.
Her plan was extremely comprehensive, aggressive and successful – the graduation rate improved by almost 6%.
“Ms. Straughan developed strategies to track each senior individually,’’ Principal Rhonda Boone, Ph.D., wrote in her nomination letter. “She is now consulting Lake County district leaders on implementing a county-wide graduation plan.”
Additionally, Ms. Straughan developed an AP track into the Mount Dora High School master schedule and, with her guidance, the school piloted on-site dual enrollment classes with Lake Sumter State College.
“Ms. Straughan has taken my vision and has been instrumental in making it a reality, when others said it could not be done in six months,’’ Dr. Boone wrote.
The Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award was established in 1997, to recognize exemplary assistant principals for their contributions to their schools and communities. The program honors assistant principals that have used teamwork and leadership skills to increase student performance, promote safe learning environments and establish partnerships with parents and community members. Each district may nominate one assistant principal, and one will be named the state winner.
The other finalists this year are Dr. Jacqueline Smith of Broward County and Kelly Stedman of Lee County.