UCP West Orange Charter School hires new principal

The new principal Sean Mikels will replace former principal Tom Brickel who resigned from his position due to the pressure of his job responsibilities.

Photo courtesy of UCP West Orange Charter School
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UCP West Orange Charter School has announced the hire of a new principal. 

The new principal will replace former principal Tom Brickel, who resigned from his position due to the pressure of his job responsibilities, a statement that differs from what the school told Orange Observer.

Sean Mikels will serve as the new principal for the school. 

"The education leadership team interviewed a number of candidates and then some of the teachers/paraprofessionals and campus leadership joined us in interviewing our final selection," the school told parents in an email. 

Mikels will join the school with past experience as a principal, assistant principal and an ASD/Autism teacher, according to UCP. 

He is also a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

"I am excited to bring my knowledge, skills and experience as a teacher and principal to UCP West Orange Charter School," Mikels said in a press release. "I am enthusiastic about joining a great community where we can empower our students to seek their full potential."

The principal officially began his new position at the end of May. 

"Mr. Mikels believes that great schools are a result of great teachers, staff, parents and community members," Dr. Ilene E. Wilkins, president and CEO of UCP of Central Florida, said in a press release. "It is his goal to support and uplift our students, staff and community through communication, professionalism and collaboration with all stakeholders. We are excited to welcome him, his wife Ashlee and their three children to the UCP family."


In an emailed statement to Orange Observer on Wednesday, March 8, Wilkins stated: "We've had a few conversations with Mr. Brickel over the last several months about the demands of any school principal position and both agreed now is a good time for him to be reassigned to a different role within UCP."

However, on Thursday, March 23, Wilkins then told Orange Observer: "Mr. Brickel has other opportunities as we know he would as a great teacher and finished his administrative project work with UCP. He decided Friday, March 17, would be his last day. He is not longer employed by UCP."

Parents who attend the virtual Town Hall meeting hosted by the school on Tuesday, March 28, were told a different story. 

"Mr. Brickel did resign a couple weeks ago," Wilkins said at that meeting. "He was not terminated. He had no misconduct. He had made a choice. Again, the principal job is very, very hard. ... They have many masters, and they are trying to run a school. They're trying to make parents happy, they're trying to make administration happy, and then they also have a lot of compliance requirements that they have no choice about. … Mr. Brickel had been here for a number of years and had just gotten more than he was able to handle."

Wilkins said Brickel stayed on with UCP for a couple of weeks to work on some transition projects, but he has now moved on to another opportunity. 



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.

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