A big change is coming to Flagler Schools next year: Both high schools will have new principals. According to Superintendent Jacob Oliva, the new leaders should be hired this week, and would start work on July 1.
So what’s happening with the current principals?
Matanzas’ Chris Pryor
Matanzas High School Principal Dr. Chris Pryor said in a May 22 phone interview that he misses teaching and now wants to teach teachers and administrators. He is still working out contract details with a new opportunity, so he declined to elaborate further. But he said he would need to begin publishing, and he won’t be able to do that while employed in a job as demanding as principal, which he called the toughest job in the district.
Pryor, who has been principal since Matanzas opened in 2005, was formerly a science teacher for a year at Father Lopez Catholic High School and then for 10 years at Flagler Palm Coast.
“I had promised myself, my family and this school that I would stay until my son graduated,” said Pryor, referring to his son, Adam Pryor, who graduated a year ago and is now a music education major at Florida State University.
He said resigning as principal is bittersweet. “It’s a job I love,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute — well, most of the minutes,” he added with a laugh. “I love this job and these people and this school.”
He recalled a poignant moment that shaped his philosophy as a principal. A few years after the school opened, Pryor visited the new Pirate Theater to see a dance recital, and he noted that the students were mostly self-directed.
“It suddenly occurred to me that this place is alive — because of the kids,” he said. “It went from being a shell of concrete and brick to a being, an entity, that has a life of its own. … It brought tears to my eyes. … That was my moment when I realized that Matanzas was a living thing … and it’s going to be this way long after I’m gone and any of our teachers are gone. This thing will continue to live and thrive.”
FPC’s Lynette Shott
Lynette Shott is leaving FPC after three years as principal. Before that, she was an assistant principal for two years. But she won’t be going far.
Shott’s new office will be down the road in the Government Services Building, which houses Flagler Schools administration. She will be given a new role as Oliva restructures the leadership team.
“One of our pillars that we focus on is student support and community engagement,” Oliva said, “so she’s going to basically fill into that role. It’s part of the vision that we rolled out with the School Board over winter break. The departments would be student services, ESE, communications and community engagement. Those are all different departments right now, so we’re streamlining.”
According to Oliva, Shott has already shown she is a leader in community engagement, promoting the work that has been done in the flagship programs, as well as engaging with the local governments and the business community.
“She has a strong vision and is great at building relationships,” Oliva said. “She and I actually have worked together closely for the past decade, and have a very good working relationship, so, with us moving our vision forward, she was a natural selection.”
Shott said she will miss being around the kids most of all. “I always tell everyone that no matter how your day is, when you can walk out into the hallway and be surrounded by 2,400 kids, it makes your day great.”
But, she is looking forward to her new role in district administration.
“There are so many exciting things happening right now, with the flagship programs,” she said. “We’re pioneering that across the state… The excitement of that is a big part of it.”