Dr. Krista Bixler has a new position at Bay Meadows Elementary, but she is already a familiar face at the southwest Orlando school. Bixler, who was officially named principal of the BMES Koalas in January, has been acting principal since last June. She also spent a year as the school’s assistant principal.
Her goal is to maintain the school’s high-performance record and to continue to excel in academics.
Last year, she implemented a series of after-school programs that have proven to be successful. Students can choose from drama, pottery, soccer, basketball, golf, guitar, piano, chess, art club and a STEM program. Soon, tutors from Sylvan Learning Center are scheduled to go to the school to assist students who are falling behind.
“Participation is high, and they have been very popular,” Bixler said of the programs. “I know golf has been popular; they just added another session.”
Working at the elementary school level has always been her passion, and most of her career with Orange County Public Schools has been with kindergartners through fifth-graders.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s and doctorate degrees in education leadership, all from the University of Central Florida.
She started as a special education teacher at Waterford Elementary in 1998. She has served as assistant principal at West Creek and Shingle Creek elementary schools, as well as Freedom High School.
When a peer suggested she apply for the high school job, she did so for the challenge.
“It was interesting because West Creek is a feeder for Freedom, so I had (students) in elementary school and again in high school,” she said. “The art program is big at Freedom, and it was neat to see them in their little programs at West Creek and then performing at Freedom. It made me proud to see that for them.”
Bixler is only the fourth principal in Bay Meadows’s 27-year history. Melanie Craig opened the school in 1990, followed by Dr. Diane Gullet and Pamela Angelo.
Last year, Bay Meadows was one of two schools to be recognized by Orange County Public Schools for being a Five-Star School for 25 consecutive years.
She is happy to be at such a successful school.
“The school and community have been very supportive of me since I've been here, and it's a great community to work with,” Bixler said.
BAY MEADOWS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
9150 Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando
Contact Amy Quesinberry at [email protected].