School year starts with a lot of firsts


Piper Seymour, 6, who was starting first grade, gets some help finding her classroom from school counselor Lisa Sprung on the first day of school at Shady Hill Elementary in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

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Posted August 10, 2022 | By Julie Garisto
julie@magnoliamediaco.com
Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette

Editor’s Note: This article was corrected as to new principals at Fort King Middle School and Forest High School.

There’s a new furry friend on the scene in Marion County Public Schools. Her name is Albi and she’s a four-legged German short-haired pointer.

She’s the first firearms detection police K9 for the sheriff’s office.

Also, whoever said, “No one gets a free lunch,” couldn’t be farther off the mark, especially in one of the 52 Marion County Public Schools now offering free breakfast and lunch meals.

Thanks to MCPS taking part in the Community Eligibility Provision, a program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, all children can take advantage of the free grub. No student/family application is required to participate.

The Fordham Early Learning Academy has opened its doors for the first time, to kindergarteners and pre-K students as young as 4 years old. Located just north of Ocala, the school is named for former MCPS teacher and administrator Edmond Fordham. The school will add first and second grades in the coming years and is under the direction of Jennifer Beck.

Around the district, 14 schools have new principals this year thanks to leadership changes made by Superintendent Dr. Diane Gullett. First-time principals include Sarah Dobbs at East Marion Elementary School, Michael Carter at Fort King Middle School, Jason Jacobs at Lake Weir Middle School, Dr. Anna Streater-Mcallister at Shady Hill Elementary School, Lamar Rembert at Forest High School, Renee Johnson at Sparr Elementary School and Victoria Hunt at Wyomina Park Elementary School.

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First day photos of  Shady Hill Elementary.