On page three of the Osprey Observer’s June 2002 edition, we published a story featuring Tricia Simonsen, who had nominated Bevis Elementary School tutor and volunteer Vince Guarcello for the David B. Frye Award, which he won.
At the time, Simonsen had been Bevis Elementary’s assistant principal. Throughout the next 20 years, she’s had a wonderful career as a principal. For nine years, she was the principal at Bevis, then she became principal of Valrico Elementary School, where she has been for another nine years so far, and Simonsen is glad for it.
“I’ve continued to have a rewarding career thanks to the super supportive families, outstanding faculty and staff and hardworking students. COVID presented many challenges, but our Valrico team has persevered and never lost sight of fostering a positive school environment and high expectations for academic success,” she said.
No day is the same; however, Simonsen starts and ends her day greeting students and families in the car line daily. She also enjoys spending time in the classrooms, celebrating success with students and staff, problem-solving and reflecting on professional goals.
“My most rewarding moments are when I am able to recognize students for doing great things,” she said, “whether it is demonstrating an outstanding character trait or chatting with youngsters about academic success, individual growth gains and content mastery.”
She primarily wants to promote an intrinsic love for learning in students and foster a collaborative, energizing environment in which staff members thrive.
“I love being a principal! There’s no greater reward than knowing you can have such a positive impact on the lives of students, staff and families in a school community,” Simonsen said.
She’s done so well as to earn multiple awards from the PTA, particularly recognizing her for promoting the importance of family involvement.
She is happy to personally be part of a community where education is truly valued, families are involved in the learning environment and there are many extracurricular activities to develop student talents. She is also proud that her two sons, now young adults with thriving careers, went through the Hillsborough County school system and even attended Bevis while she was its principal.
“Thank you for your continued support of our school and the trust that you have,” Simonsen said to the community.