Instead of just one school to handle, Dr. Angela Pruitt will have four to care for.
Pruitt, who has been the principal of Trafalgar Middle School for nine years, has been named the new superintendent for the Cape Coral charter school system and will begin work next month.
She replaces Dr. Lee Bush who is retiring on May 18.
Pruitt was hired despite having no experience as a superintendent, going against candidates who have run school systems in larger cities.
Pruitt was inspired by a desire to move up in her career, while maintaining contact with the people she teaches.
"I didn't want to move to the district office because you're removed from the students. Here, my office is on the Oasis campus and I can still go into a classroom and have connections with families and parents," Pruitt said. "It fit with who I am as a person."
The governing board for the Charter School Authority made the selection at a special meeting on March 18. Pruitt was selected after a nationwide search dwindled down to five finalists.
In the end, it decided to hire locally.
"That was my first time going through that process through a search firm," Pruitt said. "I got the impression that the fact I'm known in the community, that it was definitely in my favor."
"She has a strong connection with local educators. She had the opportunity to get to know many of the Lee County educators," said Kevin McGrail, city council liaison to the charter schools. "I was impressed with her personal background and she's a strong people person."
Her educational experience includes working as an administrator, college professor, university supervisor of teacher interns and staff development trainer.
Before becoming principal at Trafalgar, she was assistant principal there for three years and saw much change and success during her time there.
"We have stayed a leader in the district. We had the highest number of points in the grading system despite a large special needs population," Pruitt said. "We have a well-rounded experience here."
Trafalgar has also been named an "A" school the past seven years.
Perhaps the biggest change has been the drastic cut in students from the 1,500 it had when she arrived to almost half that with Challenger Middle School open.
"How you manage a school based on the change in numbers and an increase in special needs student, that was a challenge to overcome," Pruitt said.
Among the goals Pruitt has for the charter schools is to make them more of a unit, while allowing them a certain amount of autonomy.
"I also want to talk to the governing board and ask what they want to see. Do we want to grow or keep the four schools we have," Pruitt said.
Dr. Pruitt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration and Master of education in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Florida.
She has an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern, and a Doctor of philosophy in organizational psychology from Capella University.
"I'm glad to welcome her. She's articulate, well-educated and will be an excellent leader for the school system," McGrail said.
Cape Coral's charter school system includes Oasis Elementary, Oasis Middle, Oasis High and Christa McAuliffe Elementary schools.