High school principal to run Lee County Schools
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED May. 28, 2013
by Dave Culbreth
Fort Myers, Fla.
Naples High School Principal Nancy Graham was hired Monday to run the Lee County School District which is the 34th largest in the nation and has a budget of $1.328 billion dollars.
According to Graham’s resume her strength is in turning around problems schools. Now she’s been given the responsibility of turning around a district that has been marred with controversy, having three superintendents in 32 months.
"I think I know how to bring calm and stability out of chaos,” Graham said. When asked if that can be a good trait for the Lee County School District, she simply said, “We'll see, we’ll see". She added, "I prefer to think of it as a 'challenge meeter' but yes, my career has been one of going into situations where there are multiple challenges and moving whatever situation it is forward."
According to Graham’s resume, among other things, it says she's "led the charge to clean out one school where drugs were the norm and another where respect for children was non-existent". It goes on to say, "the reality was that I was considered a 'trouble shooter' who was called on to face the issues at hand, get the school back on track, then move to do the same somewhere else."
But can she move a district, plagued with problems, forward? Two and a half years ago Superintendent James Browder suddenly resigned. Following him, Superintendent Joseph Burke is now leaving in the midst of a state investigation accused of mismanaging money and interfering with an investigation into one of his top assistants.
Graham has agreed to a one year contract, while the board will continue a national search for a superintendent. “I would like is to work very hard to move the district forward for however long I'm allowed to stay," Graham added.
For the past seven years Graham has been the principal at Naples High School. She's also been a Lee County High School Principal of the Year and a Lee County English Teacher of the Year. “I have loved children wherever I've been and they have loved me back because kids are great detectors of the real deal and they know I care about them and that to me is the greatest achievement of all."
Copyright, 2013 WFTX