Lakeside Junior, Lake Asbury Junior, Ridgeview assigned new principals

Gunder, McConnell, Murphy bolster school district’s administration

By Wesley LeBlanc Staff Writer
Posted 6/12/19

CLAY COUNTY – Three Clay County schools will welcome new principals for the next school year.

Moving from his current position as Vice Principal at Oakleaf High, Ivin Gunder will lead Lakeside …

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Lakeside Junior, Lake Asbury Junior, Ridgeview assigned new principals

Gunder, McConnell, Murphy bolster school district’s administration

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Three Clay County schools will welcome new principals for the next school year.

Moving from his current position as Vice Principal at Oakleaf High, Ivin Gunder will lead Lakeside Junior High; Mallary McConnell moved from Lakeside to run Lake Asbury Junior High; and, Ridgeview’s new principal is Becky Murphy. She moved over from Lake Asbury.

The Clay County School District announced Wednesday, June 5, that Lakeside Junior High, Lake Asbury Junior High and Ridgeview High would each be getting a new principal. While these principals will be new to their respective schools, none of them are new to Clay County. In fact, according to Superintendent Addison Davis, each of these principals has demonstrated excellence within the district.

“I am excited to place competent, reliable and proven leaders for the 2019-20 school year,” Davis said. “Each leader has demonstrated the ability and skill set to transform educational practices in Clay County along with improving the instructional experiences. I look forward to supporting the innovative initiatives that each of these leaders will instill within their respective schools.”

Gunder taught for 12 years with a focus on reading and literacy skills and has always worked to show every single student that they can succeed. After teaching, he worked as the Assistant Principal and Vice Principal of Lakeside. From there, he was moved to Oakleaf High where he worked as Vice Principal. Now he’s back at Lakeside again as the principal.

“I feel great and I am super excited,” Gunder said. “I’m really excited for my mother too. She raised me by herself and unfortunately, she didn’t get to go to high school. She had to drop out in eighth grade and because of that, she’s always pushed education on me which was my catalyst to do what I do now.”

Gunder said when he learned of his promotion, his mother was the first person he called, telling her she’s the reason he got to where he is today. As principal, Gunder plans to bring his love of people and love of education to Lakeside.

“My skill set is people,” Gunder said. “I love people and I love teaching. I believe education is the best gift one can give themselves and I want to empower everyone there to see that education is there for them. Education personally changed my life and I want to see it do the same for these kids.”

McConnell has 11 years of experience in education with five of those years spent at the principal level. Under her leadership at Lakeside, the school has become one of the top-performing schools in the county and became the first junior high in the district to offer the Pre-Advanced International Certificate of Education program through the University of Cambridge.

“I’m feeling very excited about the opportunity to continue leading the work at Lake Asbury Junior High,” McConnell said. “They have an outstanding reputation in the community for not only academics, but for the culture surrounding the school and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”

McConnell is excited to become the new principal of Lake Asbury for many reasons including the ability to apply her arts background to the school’s recently-started STEAM initiative.

“They’re launching and kicking off the STEAM stuff right now and I have a very strong arts background so I’m excited to use that in helping STEAM get off the ground,” McConnell said. “I have a music degree and was a choral teacher in the classroom and I love the theme of mixing arts with STEM. I’m excited to help launch the program and recruit quality students to help grow that campus and program.”

Murphy taught English for 11 years at the junior and high school level before transitioning into administration in 2011 where she served as an assistant principal, a vice principal and principal. Under Murphy’s leadership, she brought Lake Asbury up from a C-grade to an A-grade, which has been sustained for the last two years.

“I’m honored and excited to serve the community as their principal,” Murphy said.

According to Murphy, Ridgeview is a great school with a tradition of success and she plans to work with the faculty and students already there to continue that tradition.

“I want to build on their tradition of success,” Murphy said. “Ridgeview is fortunate to have an outstanding faculty and staff that cares about their students and the school works diligently to ensure the success of all who walk through its hallways. I’m excited to be a part of that.”

The first day of school is Aug. 13.

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