April 2, 2024

Mount Dora High Principal is Finalist for Florida Principal of the Year

1.4 min read| Published On: April 2nd, 2024|

By Cindy Peterson

Mount Dora High Principal is Finalist for Florida Principal of the Year

1.4 min read| Published On: April 2nd, 2024|

Marlene Straughan, Principal of Mount Dora High School, has been selected as one of three finalists for the 2024 Florida Principal of the Year award. Last year, Umatilla High School’s Brent Frazier was honored as Principal of the Year for the state of Florida, making this the second consecutive year that a Lake County principal has been recognized at the state level. This back-to-back recognition shows exceptional leadership and dedication to excellence that characterizes Lake County Schools.

Marlene joins two other finalists from across the state who have been recognized for their exceptional contributions to their schools and communities, including Dr. Michael George of Atlantic Coast High School in Duval County and Kirk Hutchinson of Venice Elementary School in Sarasota County.

As one of only three finalists out of 67 counties in Florida, Principal Straughan’s achievement is truly remarkable and highlights her incredible talent and commitment.

Straughan began her career with  Lake County Schools in August 1997. She worked as a substitute teacher for a year, and then as a teacher for five years. She was promoted to assistant principal in 2013 and to principal in 2017. She was named principal at Mount Dora High in 2020.

“Marlene is a culture builder,” said Rob Feltner, executive director for Region 1, which includes Mount Dora High School. “She impacts every facet of the school building and community. She leads by example and believes in TEAM. Not only do teachers want to follow her leadership, but students love the school experience that she provides through her passion, love and support to each member of the community that makes up Mount Dora High School.”

She was named Lake County’s Principal of the Year in October, and is now a finalist in the statewide competition for the Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership, which honors principals who have spearheaded initiatives to increase student performance, promote safe learning environments and establish partnerships with community parents and community members.

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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