Cara Cronk, principal at Buddy Taylor Middle School is the Flagler Schools Principal of the Year. She’s held her current position since last year. Amy Neuenfeldt is the Flagler Schools Assistant Principal of the Year. She has been an assistant principal at Indian Trails Middle School since 2017.
Indian Trails Middle
Ruffin, 31, of Palm Coast’s R-Section, drew as much mainstream and social media attention a month ago from an allegation that she had assaulted a juvenile boy as she did from a 15-minute video of herself indignantly countering the charge and describing her role as an instance of instinctive protection of her son, who she said had been targeted by others.
In contrast with two previous “listening sessions” on school rezoning, which drew dozens and reflected sharp if concentrated opposition to the proposal at the time, the session the Flagler school district held at Indian Trails Middle School’s cafeteria Wednesday evening drew at most five people, not counting double that number in district staffers, including Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt.
After facing a relatively small but angry group of parents who accused the district of wanting to balance school populations in part based on racial and socio-economic equity, the Flagler County school administration on Tuesday announced it was drastically scaling back what would have been a county-wide rezoning plan set for next year. The district is opting instead for rezoning that will affect only the two middle schools, the two high schools and the entirety of Palm Coast’s R-Section and parts of west Flagler, but none other.
The Flagler County School Board will vote on a rezoning plan in December, and on Tuesday will hear an updated, phased-in approach that will focus on the two middle schools first, where sixth graders will be shifted starting next year. Localized but intense opposition to rezoning plans compelled the administration to propose a more phased-in approach than a county-wide rezoning.
Florida House Rep. Anthony Sabatini wrote a letter to Flagler Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt and the school board today falsely claiming Indian Trails Middle School students are “being deprived of their right to a public school education,” and building on fabrications about the illegal quarantining of a child at Indian Trails Middle School that began pinballing around local social media pages last week.
The three new principals’ appointments dovetail two other, less visible but influential postings at the district office and reflect the superintendent’s pronounced nod to diversity, a year after Lee sued the district, charging discrimination.
Rymfire’s LaShakia Moore and Indian Trails’ Paul Peacock are taking executive roles at the district office. Their replacements have not been named. That search has just begun and will include input from teachers, staff, and parents.
Indian Trails Middle School 7th grader Daniel Belkin was declared the winner, spelling the word “dramatization.” Cal Zwirn, a Bunnell Elementary 5th grader was runner-up, slipping up on the word “centipede” in the 16th round.
Fewer than half the district’s students took seats in actual classrooms and 10,000 attended one of Flagler schools’ three options overall, a 23 percent decline from the district’s usual enrollment. If there was a measure of excitement about being back, there was also apprehension, uncertainty, many unanswered questions.