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New Lakewood principal brings clear vision

Kathleen Young says one of her main goals is to make sure that all her students make "adequate yearly progress."

Published October 6, 2004

ST. PETERSBURG - An educator with deep roots south of Central Avenue is the new principal at Lakewood Elementary School.

Kathleen Young, assistant principal at Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Elementary, will replace outgoing Lakewood principal Raymond Tampa pending School Board approval Tuesday.

Area superintendent Lew Williams introduced Young to school staff and faculty Tuesday morning.

"We had two outstanding candidates that we brought back for a second interview," Williams said. "She was the No. 1 person.

Young, who is 32, earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She completed a master's degree in educational leadership at Nova Southeastern University and a specialist degree in educational leadership from Argosy University, formerly the University of Sarasota. She has finished all course work for a doctorate in educational leadership from Argosy.

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Young began her career as a fourth-grade teacher at South Ward Elementary School. She taught first grade at High Point Elementary in Clearwater before becoming the school's Title 1 facilitator. She moved to Campbell Park Elementary as assistant principal when the school received a federal grant to start a marine science program in 2000.

After Campbell Park lost its eligibility for an assistant principal last spring based on a revised staffing formula, Young transferred to Jamerson. Principal Robert Poth said she made a mark on the school in short stay..

"We knew coming in that she would not be here long," Poth said. "Schools need principals who have a passion and a vision for what they want to happen at a school. Those qualities were very evident in Ms. Young."

Throughout her career, Young has placed primary importance on working at high poverty schools such as Campbell Park, Jamerson and Lakewood.

"It's an opportunity to give back to the community," she said shortly after her introduction to the Lakewood staff. "Being able to touch those kids has always been near and dear to my heart."

One of her goals is to ensure that all children at Lakewood make "adequate yearly progress" as spelled out in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. She also is eager to take over the reins at a school that, as Campbell Park did in 2000, will be creating an "attendance area magnet." Lakewood already has begun implementing a medical sciences program with the help of federal funds. Such an undertaking can be overwhelming, Young said, because everyone from plant operators to administrators must work in concert.

"At Campbell Park, I was the cheerleader," she said. "When they got tired, I gave them that little shot in the arm to let them know we were all in this together."

Campbell Park principal Jim Steen, who worked with Young for three years, said Lakewood is fortunate to have her.

"Kathleen is really good at building positive relationships with people, not only with parents, but with students and with teachers especially," he said. "She will really embrace that staff. They will love working with her."

Young attributes any success she has had to a simple philosophy: She believes all children can learn, and she refuses to ask teachers to do anything she would not do herself.

"I believe we're all in this together," she said. "We are a team."

Young will make an annual salary of $64,114.

[Last modified October 6, 2004, 01:21:21]

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