The new preK-8 magnet school set to open in Waterset by Newland in the fall will be named after former teacher Dorothy C. York.

After receiving more than 1,500 school name submissions, the Hillsborough County School Board voted unanimously to name the district’s new school, Dorothy C. York PreK-8 Magnet School, last month.

Dorothy C. York PreK-8 Magnet School is scheduled to open in fall 2022 in the fast-growing area of Southeastern Hillsborough County. The school is located in the Waterset by Newland community off Hwy. 301. This new school will engage students with an internationally minded focus while also offering art, dance and other opportunities to explore their creative side. 

Dorothy Carter York, the school’s namesake, was a dedicated teacher for 45 years. She was an English instructor at Blake High School (English department chair) and later at Hillsborough High School. She also worked with University of South Florida’s Project Upward Bound and as an adjunct professor at Hillsborough Community College. Plus, York was a talented writer and author. She passed away on July 29, 2012.

York’s daughter, Liz York-Cohen, was overcome with emotions after Superintendent Davis announced the school’s new name in her mother’s honor.

“My mom would be speechless today. She wouldn’t believe it. She was a teacher. Schools in this district are named after big shots—she was a teacher. She would be stunned and honored that the district would recognize a teacher for all teachers do.”

York-Cohen said her mother tutored children for free and dedicated her life to ensuring children had every chance to succeed.

“My mother was absolutely a phenomenal teacher, believing in all children. She was an advocate for children and believed all children deserved a second chance,” said York-Cohen.

Missy Lennard was named the principal of the new school back in November. Lennard started her education career in Hillsborough County Public Schools in 1993 and taught at Gibsonton Elementary, where she also attended as a student. Lennard is a proud graduate of East Bay High School. She also has experience opening new schools in Hillsborough County. In 2009, she became the principal of Stowers Elementary. 

Lennard and other district leaders held community meetings to share information about the new school and gather name recommendations. Name submissions also came in through a district survey and by email.

Dorothy C. York PreK-8 Magnet School will provide relief to schools that are already at or near capacity. Construction is booming in Southern Hillsborough County with thousands of students expected to be entering our schools over the next three to five years.

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