The PTA Fall 2016 Spotlight is on our new EA Principal, Monishae O'Neill
Tell us about yourself and your family. What do you like to do for fun?
My husband, Reginald, and I have 3 beautiful children, Rhyland, is a 3rd grader, and Marielle and Mayci are twins in the 2nd grade. Each of my children attended the East Lake Early Learning Academy before entering Drew in Pre-K. My mom, G.G., can often be found chaperoning field trips or at Drew functions. In my spare time I enjoy reading, dancing, baking, and hanging out with my family and friends.
Your family has been a part of the Drew community for many years, how do you think that helps you in your new position?
I was a Drew parent even before I began working at Drew. As the principal, I am often reminded of that perspective. Being a member of the Drew community also provides me with a unique viewpoint. I enjoy running into students and parents in the neighborhood (i.e., Publix, Le Petit Marche, etc.). Interacting with the school community outside of school regularly makes me accessible and also allows students to see me as a principal and as a mommy.
Do you think the cradle to college model at Drew Charter gives you a unique opportunity as an elementary school principal?
Drew’s cradle-to-college model is both unique and challenging. Our campus unites approximately 1,800 students and 240 faculty and staff, creating a community that is both diverse and inclusive. Pre-K through grade 12 initiatives (PBL and STEAM) also connect us and help us work to make a difference in our community. The Elementary Academy helps to lay the foundation that supports our students as they matriculate through the pipeline. The challenge is for us to capitalize of this unique opportunity so students realize their full potential.
What impact do you hope to have as principal?
As principal, my role is to create an environment that is conducive for teaching and learning. One that will (hopefully) one day mold students into well-rounded, thoughtful, adults that contribute positively to our society. I recognize that this is only possible with the support of parents and the community. To that end, I plan to focus on improving our school culture for students, parents and staff.
What excites you the most about being principal?
Being a principal is an exciting job; everyday is different and full of surprises. Building relationships with students is the most exciting part of my job and it’s something I look forward to each day.