Dr. Angela Murphy-Osborne has had a passion for children and wanting to help kids in need since she was a young girl.
Now, the experienced educator will have the opportunity to continue that dream in serving as the first principal of the new Hamlin Elementary School.
Hamlin Elementary will open in August, along with two other relief schools for the Horizon West area, Panther Lake Elementary and Hamlin Middle.
Hamlin Elementary, located at 16145 Silver Grove Blvd., Winter Garden, relieves Water Spring and Whispering Oak elementaries.
Murphy-Osborne said being selected as principal of the new school is a privilege.
“One of the greatest honors you can have as a principal is being asked to open up a new school,” Murphy-Osborne said. “You’re the first of everything, and it’s just such an honor.”
Murphy-Osborne is no stranger as to what it takes to open a new school.
She helped to open Independence Elementary in 2015 and served as the school’s principal for seven years.
Although she said the two schools have similar aspects, she shared her approach to them will also be different.
“I’ve grown professionally — as a person and as a principal — from the experiences I’ve had from the students and the community at Independence,” she said. “I will take what I have learned at Independence, and I will implement it, make it better and tweak it as needed.”
Murphy-Osborne said one of her main foci will be on the social and emotional learning of the students.
“I want to make sure the kids are learning, but I also want to look at their social emotional learning process and their happiness,” she said.
The new principal wants to continue with programs Water Springs and Whispering Oaks had started. She has been working with those principals to find out what strategies they used and will mirror some of them.
Although Murphy-Osborne said every teacher she interviewed was wonderful, she was looking for well-rounded teachers who “have the whole package” to create teams with different strengths so the school can meet the needs of all the students.
Another huge part of her role has been working with the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization, which she said has been helpful and will ensure the school is community oriented.
Silvia Goulart de Franca will serve as Hamlin Elementary’s first PTO president.
Goulart de Franca is a member of the PTO at Water Spring Elementary and has a son who will be attending the new school.
“It’s such a huge responsibility — especially when it’s a brand-new school,” she shared. “We are starting from scratch, but it’s also a very big honor.”
Goulart de Franca said although the school is delivered by the county, it still needs investment. One of the things the PTO currently is working on is decorating the entire school and making it appealing for children.
Goulart de Franca said the first year will be crucial in determining the school’s needs. She said teachers currently are putting together wish lists for their classrooms.
“I have my hands full, but my heart is full, as well, because I love education,” she said. “What we receive here at a public school is amazing, and my son has greatly improved since we emigrated from Brazil last year. I just want to give back for the amazing opportunities we have received.”
Goulart de Franca said her goal for the PTO is to serve as a bridge of communication between the parents and the school.
Murphy-Osborne grew up in West Virginia with her parents and her foster siblings, some with special needs. She said one of her favorite activities growing up was playing school with her foster brothers and sisters.
Murphy-Osborne received her special-education degree from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania and went on to Nova University, where she received her masters and doctorate. She started as a teacher in Pennsylvania before moving to teach in Florida, serving as a dean at Pine Hills Elementary and becoming assistant principal at Magnolia School.
She previously served as principal of Palmetto Elementary for two years and Spring Lake Elementary for 10.
She worked in Title 1 schools — schools in which children from low-income families make up at least 40% of enrollment — for 24 years.
“I’ve loved being a principal since the day I was appointed,” she said. “I remember walking in for the first day, and I felt so blessed that I was chosen. I love the kids, and I love being around them. They make me feel young and energized, and I love the hugs.”
Then, her husband fell ill.
In taking on the responsibility of serving as a caretaker for her mother and husband, who both suffered from strokes, she knew she had to do something a little different.
When the opportunity for Independence Elementary came along, she took it.
Now, opening Hamlin, she said she is most looking forward to meeting the children and their families, and she hopes the school not only stands out academically, but also that the kids will look back at the end of the year and say it’s “the best year ever.”
Murphy-Osborne said she has an open-door policy and if any parents have any questions or suggestions on how to make the school better, they can email her at [email protected].
“I love the work that I do so much,” she said. “It really is the most rewarding job you can do, and that’s what keeps me going.”
Hamlin Elementary PTO
- Silvia Goulart de Franca: President
- Angela Spelman: Vice president
- Lindsay Henry-Vickery: Assistant to the vice president
- Gomatti Mohan: Secretary
- Fernanda Rey Garrucho: Secretary
- Martha Jacqueline Bilbao: Treasurer
- Megan Schutz: Treasurer
Volunteer with the PTO: [email protected]