Marion County Public Schools has announced principal changes following the release of school grades at various elementary schools across the county.
• Belleview-Santos Elementary – Kim White rises from assistant principal to a first-time principal here. Previously, she served as assistant principal at Romeo Elementary. White started with the district in 2000 as an Information Processing Clerk (IPC) at Ocala Springs Elementary. Her academic accomplishments include a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Leo University. White is a Vanguard High graduate and replaces Ashley Kemp, who transfers to Evergreen Elementary.
• East Marion Elementary – Kendra Hamby returns to a principal position, this time at Marion County’s eastern-most school. Hamby joined the district in 2005 with experience as a teacher, assistant principal and principal from Indiana. She served as assistant principal at Osceola Middle and Belleview Elementary before becoming principal at Madison Street Academy in 2014. Last year, she moved to the district’s Federal Programs Office as the director of Early Learning. Hamby’s academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Taylor University and a master’s in Education from Butler University. She replaces Suzette Parker, who moves to Romeo Elementary.
• Evergreen Elementary – Ashley Kemp moves here as principal from Belleview-Santos Elementary. Kemp will work directly with a yet-to-be-named replacement external operator to improve the school’s performance and academic environment. Kemp started with the district in 2012 as a teacher at South Ocala Elementary. In 2015, she became assistant principal at Dr. NH Jones Elementary then moved to Belleview-Santos Elementary in the same capacity two years later. She was named principal at BSE last year. Kemp earned her bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Leo University. She is a Belleview High graduate and replaces Wayne Livingston.
• Fort McCoy School – Jennifer Fisher started with the district in 2000 and held various positions including computer lab technician, teacher’s assistant, school counselor, and Pre-Kindergarten teacher. Fisher earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Saint Leo University and her master’s degree in Pre-K12 School Guidance/Counseling from Webster University. She is a graduate of Belleview High and replaces Renee Jones.
• Lake Weir High – Colleen Wade becomes a first-time principal here following experience as an assistant principal at Vanguard High. She joined the district in 2005, transferring as a teacher from Hillsborough County (FL). After coordinating the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Vanguard, she served as a coordinator at Sunrise Elementary, returning to Vanguard two years ago. Wade’s academic work includes a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Cumberland College and master’s degree in Educational Leadership from American College of Education. She replaces Jennifer Beasley, who moves to Marion Technical Institute (MTI).
• Marion Oaks Elementary – Lisa Dreher becomes a first-time principal here. Dreher began her career with MCPS in 2003 as a teacher at Belleview-Santos Elementary. Dreher served as assistant principal at Harbour View and Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary Schools before moving to Fort McCoy School in the same capacity last year. Dreher earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her master’s in Elementary Education from Murray State University, along with her specialist degree in Educational Leadership. Dreher replaces Shay Guynn.
• Marion Technical Institute (MTI) – Jennifer Beasley transfers to principal at this high school. Beasley began her MCPS career in 1996 as a teacher at Dunnellon High. In 2006, she became assistant principal at Belleview High and was named principal at Lake Weir High in 2016. Beasley earned a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Florida and her master’s in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Beasley is a graduate of Dunnellon High. She replaces January Trapp, who moves to another district school to gain additional administrator experience.
• Oakcrest Elementary – Cathy Balius moves to principal here from the same position at Romeo Elementary. She will work directly with the external operator of the school, Jayne Ellspermann, LLC, to improve student learning and raise the school’s academic performance. Balius started with MCPS in 1990 and taught at Shady Hill Elementary. She served as assistant principal at Evergreen and Harbour View Elementary Schools. Balius earned her bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in the same area from the University of Florida. She is also a Vanguard High graduate and replaces Diane Leinenbach, who left the district.
• Romeo Elementary – Suzette Parker transfers here from the same position at East Marion Elementary. Previously an assistant principal at Osceola Middle, she later became principal there then transferred to East Marion in 2017. Parker started with MCPS in 2001 as a science teacher at West Port High. She also taught at North Marion Middle and High Schools before being moving to Osceola Middle. She also worked briefly in the district’s School Development and Evaluation department. Parker is Marion County’s 2005 Teacher of the Year and earned her bachelor’s in Animal Science and master’s in Science Education from the University of Georgia. Her specialist degree in educational leadership comes from National-Louis University. She replaces Cathy Balius, previously mentioned.
These changes are in addition to Ryan Bennett moving to the district level as Area Two Director, replacing John Kerley, former Area Two Director. Kerley is now principal at Madison Street Academy, replacing Bennett.
These changes are effective immediately. For more information, contact the Superintendent’s office directly.