HORIZON WEST From a young age, Myrlene Kimble knew she was going to be a teacher. So it’s fitting she is now working to shape young minds as principal of Bay Lake Elementary in Horizon West.
“I started out because I wanted to help kids, but now I think it’s more because of just being a part of that development within the family,” she said.
Kimble will spending much time reaching out to families in the community this year as principal of West Orange’s newest elementary school, located at 12005 Silverlake Park Drive, Windermere.
“We’re planning on doing things to pull the community together, because the school really does belong to the community,” she said. “I want families to know this is their school. We are all one big family.”
On the first Friday of the school year, she plans to host a food-truck night on campus for students and their families. A grandparents dinner also is being planned.
The school also has plans to build students academically and make them feel connected early. Bay Lake’s National Elementary Honor Society already is planned, and the school will be home to many clubs, featuring options such as chess, STEM, literacy and yearbook.
Ultimately, Bay Lake is part of the growing community of Horizon West, and the school soon will outgrow its facilities and need another school to relieve it. Currently, about 700 students are enrolled, but Kimble expects numbers to grow. The school’s capacity is set as 857, although OCPS often uses portables to fill a school above capacity until enough students are available to merit a new school campus.
A LOOK AT THE SCHOOL
Families familiar with the layout and design of Independence Elementary will feel a sense of familiarity at Bay Lake Elementary. Much of the facilities have a similar layout, look and feel.
The school is outfitted with a state-of-the-art technology studio, which includes some of the latest gear for producing the morning TV show. Students even have the ability to send reporter to different parts of the campus to report live.
Like many of the modern schools, classrooms are outfitted with Smart Boards. In the media center, a computer lab has laptops rather than traditional desktop computers.
The classrooms have an open feel, with many providing a good view via windows overlooking the parking lot and surrounding neighborhoods.
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].
Kimble spent time as principal at Catalina Elementary and Endeavor Elementary before going to Bay Lake. But she’s no stranger to the process of opening a new school. In her first year of teaching, she worked at Hunter’s Creek Elementary the year that school opened. She was a fifth-grade teacher and taught a combined fourth- and fifth-grade class at Windy Ridge School. She also wrote the rubrics for pilot programs at Windy Ridge and became a learning specialist there. When she started at Endeavor, it was also the school’s opening year.
“I’ve opened at two schools in our county, but this is the first time opening as a principal,” she said.