Lakeland principal earns state-wide 'Principal of the Year' award

By Rick Elmhorst, Anchor/Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, February 05, 2018, 4:20 PM EST

A Lakeland school principal recently earned a state-wide "Principal of the Year" award, thanks in part to the innovative ways his school has incorporated technology into everyday learning.

  • Brian Andrews Principal at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy
  • Andrews: "This is the best job in the world."
  • Learn more: Lawton Chiles Middle Academy

Lawton Chiles Middle Academy Principal Brian Andrews told us he's always reading technology-related news stories, searching for new ideas and devices that students could use at school.

“I just think you have to believe you can do anything at the end of the day,” he said. That is an idea he preaches to the students. “They have to believe in themselves.”

For example, in one of the school's large, lab-like classrooms, students use 3D printers to make their computer-created designs come to life. They use a large spindle device to cut those designs into plywood.

Elsewhere on campus, students work on and maintain a hydroponic garden.

Teacher Peggy Thomas has students programming and putting together micro computers meant for poor people in other parts of the world. She told Spectrum Bay News 9 she likes the way Andrews pushes his passion for technology.

“Exactly, and that’s what happens on campus,” she said.  

Andrews may come up with the ideas, but he gives teachers flexibility in terms of how those ideas are implemented.

“I can’t think of it all by myself," Andrews said. “I’m a big idea guy most of the time, then you have to figure out 'how do we make this go?'”