By Misha Corbett of Apopka Then and Now
A new era is beginning at Dream Lake Elementary.
Carol-Ann Martin-Clenton, former Principal at West Creek Elementary in Orlando for the past two years, took over as Principal of Dream Lake Elementary in Apopka earlier in June. She met with staff and PTA board members, and was formally introduced by John Wright (North Area Superintendent) and Belinda Reyes (North Area Executive Director).
Martin takes over for longtime Dream Lake Principal Gary Schadow, who retired at the end of the 2015-16 school year. She referenced him in her opening remarks with a touching promise.
"I know I have big shoes to fill, but I will search hard for those footprints left behind by Gary Schadow," she said. "And along the way, we will make new footprints."
Martin moved to Florida from Trinidad and Tobago when she was twelve years old. She is an Apopka resident, married with three children. Her son is an Apopka High School graduate, and played football for the Blue Darters. She has a daughter who attends Wolf Lake Middle School, and another who will attend Dream Lake Elementary.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Varying Exceptionality, and a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership with a focus on Exceptional Student Education (ESE), Martin has b20 years of experience in education.
"I know I have big shoes to fill, but I will search hard for those footprints left behind by Gary Schadow.
And along the way, we will make new footprints."
But ESE is her passion, which includes children from mild to profound disabilities, and gifted as well. She served as the Principal at Cherokee School in Orange County for two years. Cherokee is an elementary school for children with emotional and behavioral disorders.
Martin visited Dream Lake Elementary seven years ago for a professional development opportunity. During her visit, she fell in love with the sense and feel of inclusiveness that every child felt. So in love, in fact, that she dreamt of one day becoming a part of the Dream Lake family. Although she was very happy at West Creek, when she saw the job opening for a Principal at Dream Lake, she knew she had to take a chance.
Mrs. Martin is very excited about the upcoming school year.
“Our common ground is what is best for the kid. I look forward to getting to know each and every one of them as an individual."
She plans to implement a very solid student recognition program that encompasses the whole child; including awards for academics, attendance, art, music, social skills, life skills, and more. It will be a busy summer, with Dream Lake Elementary preparing to move into their brand new, state of the art building, but 2016-2017 is shaping up to be a great year!
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