OSZ Influencer of the Week: Vanessa Morrow, Dr. Phillips High School

Vanessa Morrow is the assistant principal of instruction at Dr. Phillips High School.

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Vanessa Morrow is the assistant principal of instruction at Dr. Phillips High School. Her main responsibility includes monitoring graduation requirements and ensuring the school is proactive in helping its students stay on track. In addition, Morrow makes sure the students have a post-high school plan. However, she said this cannot be accomplished without DP’s counselors, college and career specialists, teachers, a leadership team, clerks, custodians, kitchen staff, and deans.

What brought you to your school? 

My experiences have primarily been in elementary school, but I always had a desire to work with the older students. One night, I received a call about an opening at Dr. Phillips High School, and I jumped at the opportunity.

What do you love most about your school? 

Our students are absolutely amazing! Each one has a story to tell. I’ve had the honor of getting to know many of them and their experiences, challenges and celebrations.  Think about what the Class of 2022 has experienced in the last four years. I am looking forward to seeing how our students will positively impact our world in the future. It was truly an honor to be a part of their last four years.

What is your motivation? 

My motivation is our students. I could write a book about their experiences — their laughter, tears, disappointment, loss, struggles and anger. They have overcome so many challenges in a short time.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

I know I keep repeating myself, but the answer is going to be the same — our students.  

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I enjoy spending time with my family, volunteering at Live Church and riding my Jet Ski. I also enjoy watching TV and relaxing.

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why? 

I did not have a favorite teacher. However, I had a teacher who did not believe in me, and that was my motivation to become a teacher. I never want a student to feel like that.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why? 

Since I was a child, I have always wanted to be a boxer. I just remember being at my parents’ restaurant and always being around them.

What is your favorite book and why? 

My favorite book is the Bible, which has healed me through grief, heartache, struggles and pain, as well as increased my wisdom and guidance. One of my favorite children’s books is “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch, which describes the importance of love. I can’t get through it without tears.

What are your hobbies? 

I love buying and taking care of my plants! I started growing vegetables, but the squirrels kept eating all my peppers. Now, I focus on growing plants and lettuce.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? 

My superpower would be to take away heartache, anger, sadness, lack of confidence, not feeling loved and any other feeling that makes our students feel less about themselves. 

If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why? 

Any Christian artist like Tye Tribbett, Fred Hammond, Anthony Brown and many others. Nothing feels better than praising God through their music.

What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember? 

The only thing I can remember are the hamburgers and pizza from the school lunch. 

What is your favorite holiday and why? 

My favorite holiday is Christmas, because I get to spend more time with my family. Also, it’s a time I can rest and recharge!

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch? 

I keep up with high school friends through Facebook. I mostly have a group of friends I can keep in touch with from college. I look forward to our trips! This year, we spent time together in Ohio, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors? 

In high school, I played volleyball, ran track, was a dancer and was involved in student council. One of the best memories was being an All Burges Girl, given to a student who excels in different areas.


Position: Assistant Principal of Instruction 

Time at school: Seven years

Time with OCPS: More than 10 years



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.