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New principal takes over at Ridgewood on Monday

Published:   |   Updated: May 16, 2013 at 09:18 PM

A new principal will be in charge at Ridgewood High School when students return from Thanksgiving break Monday.

That won't come as a surprise to the teenagers, though. Many of those students met Angie Murphy, 33, when she visited the school last week after she learned she had landed the job.

Murphy looked in on classrooms, talked with students in the cafeteria, met faculty members and even spent time at a basketball practice.

"I was just getting a feel for the school," said Murphy, who has been an assistant principal at Mitchell High for three years. "The feeling so far is a good one. I can see why they made the gains they made. We will continue to do that."

Ridgewood, once a perennial D school under the state's grading system, has steadily improved and earned a B under the last round of grading.

The Pasco County School Board approved Murphy's promotion Tuesday, based on a recommendation from departing Superintendent Heather Fiorentino. School board approval of such personnel moves typically is routine.

Murphy succeeds Andy Frelick, who was transferred to Zephyrhills High after its principal, Steve Van Gorden, resigned in the midst of an investigation into sexual harassment complaints against him.

"There's been a great foundation set at Ridgewood, with a dynamic staff and great students," Murphy said. "We can definitely take the school to the next level."

Murphy began her education career as a teacher at Mitchell High School in 2000, the year that school opened in the Trinity area.

In January 2008, she was transferred to the Curriculum and Instructional Services Department at school district headquarters. Later that year, she was promoted to a supervisor's position in the curriculum department. In 2009, she returned to Mitchell High School, this time as an assistant principal.

Murphy holds a bachelor's degree in social science from Florida State University and a master's degree in educational leadership from the University of South Florida. (813) 371-1853 Twitter: @RBlairTBO

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