As Aloma Elementary School welcomed new and returning students, it also welcomed a new principal.
Don Vega hopes to continue Aloma Elementary’s success this school year as he takes the helm. He brings 15 years of experience as a school teacher, administrative dean and assistant principal.
“I’m super excited,” Vega said. “I’m very familiar with the community, and for the past year, I was serving as assistant principal at Fern Creek. On my way home, I’d cut through the Winter Park area, and I drove by Aloma every day. I enjoyed reading the marquee and seeing these fun facts. … Never once did it cross my mind that I’d be serving as principal at Aloma.”
Vega’s biggest goal for Aloma is building on top of the school’s current success. The school moved up 116 total points from the previous year in its state rating. Vega also hopes to build on Aloma’s Global Studies Academy. Last year, the program partnered with schools in Costa Rica for live Skype sessions.
Teachers plan to connect with schools in China and New Zealand this year, Vega said.
Before coming to Aloma Elementary, Vega spent 14 years at Avalon Elementary, a larger school with more than 900 students. He spent the majority of his time as a school teacher, but spent the last three years as an administrative dean.
He later went to Fern Creek Elementary, where he spent a year as an assistant principal.
“I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum, working at Avalon Elementary — a high-performing school traditionally with well-off families where free and reduced lunch is pretty low,” he said. “And then at Fern Creek, I got to see the other side of the spectrum. That was my first experience with Title I.
“I’ve not only seen it, but walked through the various challenges that each holds,” he said. “I really think Aloma is somewhere in the middle of those two schools that I’ve had the pleasure of serving.”
Vega said that he can’t wait to get started, giving back to a community that has welcomed him very warmly.
“I had the principals from this area reach out and ask if I needed anything and they’re checking up on me,” Vega said.
“Our school board member Joie Cadle has already come out and visited and sent me some nice emails being supportive. … The community has been wonderful, and I can’t wait to give back.”