April 05, 2017

Babcock charter school names principal

By: Vicki Parsons - IT


April 4, 2017

Babcock Neighborhood School recently named Shannon Treece, 39, as the first principal of the new charter school.

The charter school is located on Babcock Ranch, the nation’s first solarpowered town off State Road 31 in Charlotte County. Developer Kitson and Partners retained Collaborative Educational Network, a consulting firm with more than 20 years of experience working with charters in Florida, to create the school for the new town. Treece was selected as principal from a pool of 164 applicants for the school, which will open to kindergarten through sixth grade.

Treece “shared our passion for place-based, project-based learning,” said President Christy Noe of the Collaborative Education Network. Curriculum is based on a concept called “green-STEAM.” “Green” for a focus on creative learning about the green spaces, lakes and trails that make up half of the 18,000-acre ranch footprint; and “STEAM” for science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

Treece grew up on a Kentucky dairy farm.

“That experience was very project-based, and while I did not appreciate that experience as a young girl. As I grew older, I realized how fortunate I was to experience the environment through that lifestyle,” she said. “That passion for agriculture grew as I matured. And that is honestly what has helped drive my focus on bringing experiences to children that expose them to the environment and allow them to spend their time critically thinking about real world issues. I had no idea how much I learned on the farm until I was well into my adulthood.”

Treece officially starts serving as principal on May 1, preparing for theschool’s opening on Aug. 10. She has previously served as a teacher andadministrator. She has been in administrative positions since 2004.

Her last position was principal at Oasis High School, a charter school in Cape Coral. And she said that she likes the flexibility of charter schools and smaller class sizes.

At Oasis High, she focused “on improving student achievement and high-quality teaching through curriculum, assessment and instructional practices for every student demographic,” a BNS release stated.

The new school is expected to reach full capacity for K-6 grade with approximately 156 students expected to walk through the door on Aug. 10. The longterm plan is to open to kindergarten though eighth grade, but there were very few seventh- and eighthgrade applicants the first year. The plan is to expand to seventh grade in 2018-19 school year and eighth grade by 2019-20.

Treece said her shortterm goal is “to hire a team of rock star teachers.” She is looking for teachers with her passion for “delivering an educational experience that is fun and prepares students for deeper learning around greenSTEAM concepts.”

Positions for teachers will be posted on April 10 on the school’s website at school/.

“Developing the curriculum and building community connections for our student experiences will be both a short- and long-term goal as we will be continuously developing the curriculum,” Treece said. “Long term, I would love to build a successful school that can sustain this [greenSTEAM] model over time and that other schools can replicate. To provide a model that shows others it is possible for students to engage in their own learning experiences through their own personal interests and desires.”