JoAnne Glenn began ordering furniture months ago.
“That was the first thing I was doing once I got the job,” said Glenn, who is Angeline Academy of Innovation’s first principal.
First, it was about ordering furniture, then devices and equipment for the school and classrooms.
“After those first two big purchases, it was then getting the books and then hiring the teachers, so it would all be ready for today,” Glenn said, as she and her staff of teachers, administrators, bookkeepers, secretaries and more welcomed hundreds of students to the county’s newest magnet school, which had its first opening day on Aug. 10.
The $52.7-million school, which ultimately will serve students in grades six through 12, is in the heart of the emerging community of Angeline, where Moffitt Cancer Research Center is developing its Pasco campus.
Before school started, cars lined the road out to Ridge Road as Glenn and Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning ushered in students through the front doors.
“The excitement for the teachers and students is palpable because we’ve spent months preparing for today,” Glenn said. “We finally have our students here, and you can’t beat (this feeling).”
The academy, at 8916 Angeline Way, is on an 18.8-acre site, which is south of State Road 52, north of the Ridge Road extension and west of Sunlake Boulevard.
It is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) magnet school that features four primary career academies at the high school level.
It will have a Biodesign Academy; a Computer Science and Applied Cybersecurity Academy; an Engineering and Applied Robotics Academy; and, an Entrepreneurship Academy. Students can pursue other pathways, which will enable them to leave school to become their own businesses and be their own bosses.
There are two primary magnet pathways at the middle school. They’re broad and intended to support the work in each of the high school pathways.
“I spent months interviewing and selecting teachers who believe in our mission about cultivating curiosity, encouraging students to explore,” Glenn said. “We’ve attracted students who are interested in technology, engineering, science, math — and to bring those two key groups together and get started, the sky’s the limit!”
Angeline Academy is the third school of this type in Pasco, joining its sister institutions: Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation in Wesley Chapel and Wendell Krinn Technical High in New Port Richey.
The school is expected to have strong partnerships with both Moffitt and with Pasco-Hernando State College.
Unlike its sister schools, Angeline Academy will, in fact, have athletic teams. The teams — named the Archers — will play on fields still being constructed on a parcel of land in front of the Land O’ Lakes subdivision, Tierra Del Sol, just off U.S. 41.
“That was actually one of the first calls I got,” Glenn admitted. “Our district was hearing from parents that they didn’t want their kids to have to choose between a magnet school or sports. I think sports are great for kids and I’m excited to have those athletic fields open, and it gives a little more importance to our colors and mascot — the Archers!”
Glenn — who was named Pasco County Schools’ Principal of the Year in 2019 and the 2020 Digital Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals — is ready to see what the school year brings.
“Literally, since November, I have been completely engrossed with the nitty-gritty,” said Glenn, who helped open Wharton High in 1997 and Pasco’s eSchool in 2009. “It was a lot of fun to look through it all, go over everything, from the equipment, to the teachers we wanted to hire.
“Kids here are going to be solving the world’s problems, I really believe that,” Glenn added. “I’m excited that my teachers, in this setting, will be able to use their time and expertise a little differently than in a traditional setting.”
Published August 16, 2023