Melanie Cochrane opening the door to her new job at Stowers Elementary School.

By Nick Edwards

In 2018, former Bevis Elementary School Principal Melanie Cochrane transferred to McDonald Elementary School in Seffner. Now, five years later, she is making her return to the FishHawk education community as she accepts the position of principal at Stowers Elementary School.

Prior to becoming a principal, Cochrane worked as a special education teacher and reading coach. As she was put in various leadership positions, she realized her desire for education leadership. So, Cochrane earned both a master’s degree and a specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of South Florida. From there, she worked her way up to the honorable principal she is today.

Known as a principal with outstanding dedication, perseverance and positivity, Cochrane has been a constructive influence in the lives of FishHawk students for years, consistently leading Bevis to earn state recognition and high marks in all areas. This made her the perfect candidate for principal at McDonald Elementary, a school in need of positive change.

Upon her arrival, the school was deemed a ‘D’ school by state standards. In the few years she served as principal, McDonald jumped up two ratings, earning a ‘B’ in 2022. While this was no easy task, Cochrane describes the experience as extremely rewarding, considering it “a highlight of her career.”

When she heard about the open position at Stowers Elementary, Cochrane was eager to make her return to FishHawk.

In her words, “I enjoy working not only with students and teachers but also with families and the community so coming to Stowers is a perfect fit for me.”

It’s no secret that the schools in FishHawk are some of the state’s finest, and with her leadership, there is truly no limit to the success that will flow.

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