Principal Mark West has served Bloomingdale since the end of 2005
By Derek Maul
A little more than six years into his tenure at Bloomingdale High School (BHS), Principal Mark West remains as motivated as his first day on the job.
“It’s the kids,” he said. “They are so rejuvenating. I still come to work excited about seeing their faces.”
The T-shirt he’s wearing is a clue. “It’s from the student government team building lock in,” he said. “I believe leadership development is critical.”
BHS is celebrating its 25th year. Back in 1987, West helped open the high school as a physics teacher on the charter staff.
West moved to Middleton Middle School in 1992, was hired to lead Turkey Creek Middle School in 1998, and then returned to Bloomingdale as principal in 2005.
2012 marks the first year that the BHS student population has not grown significantly.
“We’re at right under 2,400 students,” West said. “Next year is projected to be the same.”
In addition to students, West is responsible for around 225 staff members, including 180 teachers.
While morale is positive, Hillsborough County’s two-year-old Gates Foundation Grant Empowering Effective Teachers program (EET) has provided more than its share of administrative challenges.
“The program has helped clarify and hone professional development,” West said, “but it can be difficult for an experienced teacher used to doing things – even successfully – in a certain way. It’s been a challenge, but my teachers are very flexible.”
West said the initiative has facilitated teacher support. “That’s where we’ve done the best job over the past two years. The most help and true coaching than at any time I’ve ever seen in education. I have to give the district credit for finding a program based on best teaching practices.”
West is pleased with the overall program, and thrilled with the students. But the bottom line is still measured in learning.
“We’re always very proud of academics,” he said. “The last three years I’ve seen more kids go on to college than ever percentage wise, we have two national merit finalists and our yearbook has been recognized nationwide.”
Stay tuned for news regarding a community prep rally before the end of the school year. After 25 years, there’s been a lot to celebrate.
Find out more about Bloomingdale High School and Principal Mark West at http://bloomingdale.mysdhc.org/