Progress Village Middle welcomes new principal
PROGRESS VILLAGE -
Andrew Olson studied to be an accountant but quickly found his real calling was as an educator.
“Working in education is not a job, it’s a ministry,” Olson said. “I love teaching and I believe that we are making a huge difference in the lives of students every day.”
Olson, 35, was named principal of Progress Village Middle Magnet School last month and his first day at his new post was Monday. He replaces Michael Miranda, who was Progress Village’s principal since 2008.
“The faculty and staff have been very welcoming, and Mike Miranda has also worked closely with me to ensure a smooth transition,” Olson said.
This is Olson’s 10th year as an educator and his first stint as a principal. After earning a B.S. in accounting from Le Moyne College in Syracuse and working as an accountant for two years — one in Syracuse, another in Tampa — Olson decided to switch gears and become a teacher.
He taught for two years at Orange Grove Middle Magnet and another three years at the Rampello Downtown Partnership School, both in Tampa. Along the way, he earned his Master’s in education leadership from the University of South Florida in 2007 and spent the past five years as an assistant principal at Young Middle Magnet School in Tampa.
“My entire career in education has been at magnet schools,” Olson said. “This has helped me understand the importance of integrating a school's theme and marketing to recruit and retain students.”
Olson is eager to familiarize himself with his new surroundings.
“The campus is beautiful and the arts programs are thriving,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the community and strengthening those ties as well.”
Progress Village earned an “A” grade last year, Olson believes in an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to his new position.
“The biggest challenge will be learning the culture of the school as quickly as possible to get a better understanding of what makes Progress Village a special place,” Olson said. “I want to maintain the traditions that have already been established and continue the spirit of quality and excellence that makes this the awesome school it is.”