Douglas Farley is in his first year of leading SunRidge Elementary as its principal. He said he strives to lead the school with humility, provide a “family” atmosphere and keep high expectations for everyone.
Farley began his career with Orange County Public Schools as an English teacher at Olympia High School and then moved into the academic dean/testing coordinator position there. In 2015, he moved to Freedom High School to serve as an assistant principal.
What brought you to your school?
I have always had ties with this community. I live on the west side of Orange County, my wife’s family lived in Windermere, and my wife taught at Keene’s Crossing Elementary, where my two boys went for their elementary age. So when the job opened up, it was an job I felt very attached to.
What do you love most about your school?
What’s not to love? The kids are wonderful, the parents are supportive, and the staff is dedicated and passionate. I am truly blessed to be at such a wonderful school.
What is your motivation?
My motivation is always the students. Every decision we make is based on the question, “What is best for the students?” At the end of the day, if every student gained in knowledge, felt safe and learned to be a model citizen, we have succeeded.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Walking into classrooms and seeing great instruction and students learning is what keeps me coming back every day.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Outside of school, I spend as much time with my wife and two boys. Much of that time is involved with soccer. My two boys both play, and I coach. Outside of that, we love to travel, visit the theme parks and eat!
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
My favorite teacher was my 1st grade teacher, Ms. Damron. She was ahead of her time in education — allowing me to teach my peers and lead groups — but still keeping high expectations for me. She is one of the reasons I went into education.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
I wanted to be a marine or freshwater biologist. My best friend and I were always on the rivers, creek, and lakes, fishing, swimming and exploring. Halfway through college, though, I knew that education was my calling. I still spend time on the water and at the beach exploring, fishing and swimming with my family.
What is your favorite children’s book and why?
“The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear” by Don Wood. My boys LOVED this story and we read it hundreds of times to them, so it has great memories for me.
What are your hobbies?
Soccer, fishing, traveling and good food!
If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Being able to go back in time 30 minutes to correct mistakes I make.
If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
For King and Country, Toby Mac and NF. It’s eclectic, but I love their honesty and messages.
How long at SunRidge Elementary and with OCPS?
This is my first year at SunRidge Elementary, but my 11th year in OCPS.