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Brooksville Elementary gets new principal

Mike Lastra has been chosen as the new principal of Brooksville Elementary School, Hernando County school district announced Wednesday.

He follows Jill Renihan, who recently left the position to take a job as the district's new director of school safety.

Lastra has worked in Hernando schools since 2004, when he started as a teacher at Nature Coast Technical High School. He stayed there until 2015, when he was promoted to an assistant principal position at Eastside Elementary, where he has served until now.

In a press release, Hernando schools superintendent John Stratton said Lastra's leadership is most defined by his enthusiasm and enduring positivity."

"Mike is a skilled leader who keeps his heart open for kids and his attention focused on quality learning experiences for students," he said. "He will shine at Brooksville."

At Eastside, Lastra led the effort to create an interactive Makerspace lab, which is a classroom geared toward giving kids a the opportunity to explore technology.

He also started the STEAM Team, a group of students in grades 2 through 5 who spend non-instructional time in the lab and give presentations about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) topics to teachers, parents and community members.

Another group Lasta implemented at Eastside is the Urban Gentleman's Club, a development group for boys that is also in place at Pinegrove Elementary.

Lastra, a 1998 graduate of Central High School, said he's excited to start at Brooksville, a school with strong roots in Hernando.

"It is a school whose culture is grounded in and by the community," he said in a press release. "When you have that kind of support, you can make great things happen for kids."

Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected] Follow @mareevs.

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