PBLakes High video: Can your principal top these moves?


Update: Principal Alfonso appears to have  danced his way into a few more minutes of fame. Rumor has it that his pep rally show has landed him a spot Tuesday morning on Good Morning America. Scheduling for these things can be fluid, but it might just happen. Stay tuned.

Original post Sept. 29: Palm Beach Lakes High guidance staff have thrown down the gauntlet with the hashtag “ourprincipalisbetterthanyours”. Yup, that’s right, according to their PBLHS Facebook page, they believe their new Principal David Alfonso is better… at dancing. alfonso-mug

Their evidence, cellphone video from last week’s homecoming pep rally.

You be the judge. Do you have a principal who could do better? We’re eager to see it.


Pahokee High also seeking new principal

aocampoThe principal credited with boosting Pahokee High School’s graduation rate by 16 percentage points in the 2013-14 school year is leaving that job to work for the man who put him there.

Adrian Ocampo, a 45-year-old with 19 years in Palm Beach County schools, has been named principal at Port St. Lucie High and will report to public schools superintendent Wayne Gent.

That’s the second Palm Beach County principal Gent has poached this summer.

Last week, we reported Jupiter High Principal Dan Frank is headed north to be Gent’s Executive Director of Schools.

In January 2014, Gent riled Glades residents when he replaced longtime principal Ariel Alejo with Ocampo, who was the principal at Watson B. Duncan Middle in Palm Beach Gardens.

School Board member Marcia Andrews said Gent indicated the move was an attempt to improve the school which was struggling academically, earning a D grade from the state at the time. The problem wasn’t so much Gent’s choice, but how he made it – without community input, both Andrews and Pahokee’s mayor at the time complained.

Almost a year later, the school received a second D, but under Ocampo, the graduation had risen to 90 percent. 

“It is a small school, we have less than 100 students in our senior class so we focus on them individually. We devote a lot of resources and a lot of time. We make their graduation a priority.

“We have one guidance counselor just devoted to our seniors. You ask her about one and she can tell you everything about them. What their grades are, what tests they’ve taken, what we can do to help,” Ocampo said at the time. The following year, the school moved up to a C, and Ocampo said this week he believes based on a review of student scores it will be a high C when grades come out again this year. 

While Ocampo was celebrated for that achievement, his wife, also a principal in the district, has had a rocky year.

Atlantic High School principal Tara Dellegrotti-Ocampo was reprimanded in March for marching in through the back office of her former school and scolding a former employee. By June, she had a second reprimand in her file, this one for her role in permitting a fire-breathing stunt at a school pep rally. The stunt in the school gym went awry as the performer accidentally ignited himself in front of 2,000 students. No students were injured, but he suffered second-degree burns.

She will be staying Ocampo said. “Tara is committed to Atlantic High School and Palm Beach County. I had a wonderful 19 years in Palm Beach County. I’m looking forward to this next chapter. “

St. Lucie County’s deputy schools superintendent is also a former principal in Palm Beach County schools. In 2003, Jon Prince was at the helm of Verde Elementary and the next year moved to Palm Beach Gardens High, according to his biography on the district’s website. He worked at other schools outside Palm Beach County before landing the deputy superintendent’s job in the summer of 2015.

Palm Beach County schools: Five stories this week you can’t miss

The St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
The St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton.
(Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

A lot happened in Palm Beach County schools this week, from an assistant principal accused by students of sexual harassment to a principal being removed from her position.

Here are the top five stories you need to read in education from this week:

  1. St. Andrew’s School: Worker’s ‘boundary breaches’ prompted sex abuse probe

    1. St. Andrew’s School, embroiled in controversy over a secretive sex abuse inquiry, revealed Thursday that one of its employees had “breached student boundary policies” but said it was unaware of any students who had been sexually abused.
  2. Students say Pahokee High assistant principal sexually harassed them
    1. An assistant principal at Pahokee Middle-Senior High School faces termination after accusations that he groped a female student and asked another one to send him pictures of her legs.
  3. Palm Beach Lakes High principal reassigned from school
    1. Embattled Palm Beach Lakes High School Principal Cheryl McKeever has been transferred from the school after a year of acrimonious battles between her and many of the school’s teachers.
  4. Palm Beach County educator embellishes record, gets top Pittsburgh job

    1. After 18 years as a Palm Beach County school administrator, Anthony Hamlet won the top job in Pittsburgh’s public school system last month with a resume boasting a series of successes at turning around struggling campuses. But some of Hamlet’s claims about his track record in the county’s schools appear to be misstatements or exaggerations, The Palm Beach Post has found.
  5. Report: Palm Beach County schools need $1.2 billion in “critical” repairs

    1. It will cost Palm Beach County’s public school system nearly $1.2 billion to make all of the “critical” repairs needed for its growing backlog of deteriorating buildings and equipment at 196 school facilities, a new school district report concludes.

PBLakes Principal McKeever’s full statement in wake of student, teacher complaints

Cheryl McKeever (2009 Palm Beach Post file photo)
Cheryl McKeever (2009 Palm Beach Post file photo)

Palm Beach Lakes Principal Cheryl McKeever issued this statement regarding student complaints that they have gone without a math teacher all year and concerns from teachers and parents about her actions after the students complained to the School Board Wednesday night:


“As principal of Palm Beach Lakes High School, everything that happens at the school is my responsibility. I apologize to students and parents for any confusion and lack of communication as we’ve searched for a teacher who is a good fit for our school and students.


“After Wednesday’s School Board meeting, where students raised concerned about their Geometry class, I met with students on Thursday and parents on Friday. Thursday’s meeting with students was attended by two academic coaches and our ELL coordinator, while Friday’s meeting was attended by the assistant principal who oversees the math department, the assistant principal for curriculum and the mathematics academic coach, a certified teacher who will be teaching the students through the end of the school year. The District will provide additional academic support as needed.


“Students will receive individual academic plans, and updates will be provided weekly on students’ progress to build on their strengths and address their weaknesses.


“I addressed students as young adults. I responded honestly and appropriately to any and all inquiries pertaining to the Geometry class, and shared with them personal statements made by their former teacher as to why he did not want to remain on the job. If that was perceived negatively, I apologize again. My intention was to improve and provide open communication on this matter.”