Education

Florida’s principal of the year will be named new principal of Stoneman Douglas High

A message from the principal at Stoneman Douglas High

Ty Thompson, principal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, has a message for students of his school. "I promise you I will hug each and every one of you as many times as you need."
Up Next
Ty Thompson, principal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, has a message for students of his school. "I promise you I will hug each and every one of you as many times as you need."

Florida’s 2019 Principal of the Year has been tapped as the next principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie and chief school performance and accountability officer Valerie Wanza held another impromptu meeting with school staff at the Parkland school early Monday morning, according to social studies teacher Gregory Pittman. They announced that Michelle Kefford, principal of Charles W. Flanagan High in Pembroke Pines, will replace Ty Thompson following his departure in June.

Thompson didn’t hold back tears Friday as he informed staff that he intended to resign at the end of the school year. Thompson, who was principal at the time of Florida’s largest school shooting that killed 17 and wounded 17 more, cited difficulty with the “pace” of his job, heightened stress and mounting pressures of an internal investigation.

Thompson’s management of the school has been criticized, most notably by the state-sanctioned commission investigating the shooting. School district officials pointed to the commission’s report, which said Thompson was responsible for securing campus gates at the time of the shooting and ensuring his administrators were trained on conducting threat assessments and that he failed to have a code-red procedure, as grounds for investigating Thompson.

At a press conference Monday, Runcie said Thompson made a request for another job within the school system.

“We are looking at some other role in the school system,” Runcie said. “We anticipate that he will remain in the district in some other capacity.”

FL-NE-NEW-MSD-PRINCIPAL_3-FL0094889648.JPG
Michelle Kefford, who will be the new principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, hugs school board member Lori Alhadeff during a press conference announcing her appointment. Carline Jean Sun Sentinel

Kefford was named Florida’s Principal of the Year in March. The Broward County school district has credited her with the school’s earning of its first “A” grade from the state. The school has received an A for six of the last seven years.

Kefford launched her educational career at Stoneman Douglas, where she taught biology.

Kefford said at a press conference Monday that her family was personally affected by the shooting. Her son was an eighth-grader in a portable classroom at neighboring Westglades Middle when the shooting happened. He is now a freshman at Stoneman Douglas.

WLRN reporter Caitie Switalski contributed to this report.

  Comments