kefford.jpg Broward County Public Schools
Michelle Kefford will take over as principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Florida's principal of the year will take the helm at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High

Michelle Kefford will take the reins at the Parkland, Fla., school that is still dealing with the aftermath of the 2018 shooting attack that killed 17.

The new principal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is the state's 2019 principal of the year and the mother of a Stoneman Douglas student.

Broward County School Superintendent Robert W. Runcie has selected Michelle Kefford to lead the school where 17 people were killed in a 2018 shooting attack.

Kefford, 44, has been principal of Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines since 2011 and began her education career as a biology teacher at Stoneman Douglas 20 years ago.

"I'm excited by the opportunity to go back home," Kefford says. "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a lot of ways is going back home."

Kefford lives in Parkland, and her son is in ninth grade at Stoneman Douglas.

She is set to begin the new position on July 1.

[View the news conference announcing Kefford's appointment.]

Kefford also worked as an assistant principal at other high schools in Broward County before becoming principal at Flanagan.

The Florida Department of Education named Kefford the state's principal of the year in March.

The department said that under Kefford's leadership, "Flanagan High School earned its first-ever A and has received an A for six out of the seven years. Since her tenure as principal, she has initiated several programs including 'Kefford’s Kids,' a mentoring program and 'Falcon Flyers,' an initiative to enable middle school students to earn high schools credits at Flanagan High."

CNN reports that some parents are hoping the arrival of a new principal will mark a new beginning for the school.

"I would love to see parents excited to send their kids there because it's this great place again," says Bari Wolfman, a parent of two Stoneman Douglas students.

In the past year, students have been attending art therapy sessions, mourned two survivors of the massacre who took their own lives, and learned that three assistant principals and the school principal were under investigation in relation to the shooting.

Wolfman says parents at Stoneman Douglas have become much more involved following the shooting and want somebody who can create change, encourage staff to report fights and drug use, and who is willing to really get to know the student body.

"I would like to see this principal have a very good handle on realizing what this community went through and that students, parents and teachers are still dealing with it at very different levels," she says.

Runcie singled out Kefford for her efforts "to build an enormous culture of pride with her staff and students."

Keffor's appointment comes just days after the school's principal, Ty Thompson, announced that he would be stepping down at the end of the school year, citing the toll of the job on his health and family. Runcie says Thompson has requested a different role within the district that is yet to be determined.

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