By Donald Rodrigue
For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- The St. Lucie County School Board has chosen two school principals to become new executive directors of schools for the district beginning this fall.
Lydia Martin, outgoing principal at Southport Middle School in Port St. Lucie, and Pam Dampier, principal of Lincoln Park Academy since last August, will share supervision of school principals throughout the district beginning with the 2014-15 school year.
Deputy Superintendent Mark Rendell says the district has been using assistant superintendents for principal supervision in recent years but decided to re-implement executive directors to better support school administration and save the district money in the long run.
"This was part of the reorganization of the district," Mr. Rendell said. "These executive directors will be solely responsive for supporting the schools."
As part of the district reorganization, the number of assistant superintendents is being cut from eight to three, with most being reassigned to different positions. Mr. Rendell himself was promoted from assistant superintendent to his current position, where he'll now oversee the district's human resources department as part of his new duties.
"We used to have positions like these years ago," he said, referring to the executive director positions. "It's a cost-cutting measure, but we believe it's going to provide more direct support for the schools."
Both former principals will be responsible for overseeing about 16 principals each, Mr. Rendell added. School Board Superintendent Genelle Yost says Mrs. Martin is an effective instructional leader who will share the skills and talents she's honed over the last several years as an administrator to help district principals become better leaders.
"Her ability to analyze data and communicate strategies for school improvement make her a natural fit for the position of executive director," Ms. Yost said.
After beginning as a science teacher at Forest Grove Middle School in 1996, Mrs. Martin served as assistant principal at both St. Lucie West K-8 (formerly St. Lucie West Middle School) and Palm Pointe K-8. She was promoted to principal of Southport Middle School in August 2010, where she says she helped promote a collaborative mindset among the staff.
"We tracked and analyzed data in grade level department groups and worked on developing the best strategies to deliver instruction," Mrs. Martin said. "I built a level of trust with teachers, which encourages innovation in meeting the needs of all students."
Mrs. Dampier began teaching at Forest Grove Middle School in 1994 and became an assistant principal at Lakewood Park Elementary in 2000. She became principal of St. Lucie West K-8 (formerly St. Lucie West Middle School) in August of 2005, where she spent the next several years and oversaw the campus' successful transition to a K-8 facility in a very short period of time.
"The most challenging part of transitioning was having less than six months to merge an existing middle school into a K-8 school community," Ms. Dampier said. "The focus was on creating a school-wide culture of working as a team to support the school's vision and mission."
Ms. Yost credits that successful transition to Mrs. Dampier's foresight and focus on teamwork.
"She is a visionary who has the ability to foster support and collaborative relationships amongst her staffs for the united purpose of enhancing student achievement," Ms. Yost said.
Mrs. Dampier says she's excited to be able to begin sharing her own experience and vision with principals throughout the district.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to work with principals to improve teaching and learning in all schools," she said.
Mrs. Martin said she hopes her new executive director position will provide her the opportunity for continual growth so she can have a positive impact on district schools.
"I hope to support principals with the St. Lucie County Framework for teaching and learning, just as I have supported teachers and been an advocate for them for district resources and support."