Out of more than 30 applicants and nine finalists, Jackie Ingratta was chosen to return to the school and replace Claudia Shirley as assistant principal for curriculum.
“We are saddened by Shirley leaving because she’s been here so long,” Principal Rick Fleming said. “But it’s nice to have a familiar face around the school and her knowledge of our school’s system and its students will make it an easy transition for everyone.”
After moving to Florida from Canada in 2003, Ingratta taught at Southwest Middle School utill 2007. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University in 2006, and began working at the school the following year until 2009 when schools of choice were forced to eliminate their dean positions. After Ingratta left, she worked as a dean at Clearlake Middle School in Cocoa. When the position at West Shore opened, she says she had to apply like everyone else.
“I applied for it, got interviewed, and then Mr. Fleming offered me the position,” Ingratta said. “It’s essentially a promotion for me because I’m working on my principal certification and would like to be one someday.”
Ingratta says she is surprised by how the school has changed. “It’s different because I don’t know any of the middle school students,” Ingratta said. “Today in the cafeteria I thought I saw a familiar student but it turned out to be his brother. Everyone I knew grew up.”
Ingratta has been given all of Shirley’s old responsibilities such as overseeing the guidance office and scheduling the total instructional program for students. “It’s more like I’m overseeing the work done for a lot of the school’s programs since I’m the vice principal of curriculum,” Ingratta said.
Fleming says he knows Ingratta is up for the job.
“I hired Mrs. Ingratta because she is notable for her high competence,” he said.
The value that Fleming places in Ingratta can be seen in the fact that he hired her even though she will take a maternity leave in late March or early April. Though Ingratta will only be at the school for about three months, she’s says she plans to work from home.
“I’ll have access to everything I need at home through my computer,” Ingratta said. “I return at the beginning of the summer which gives me two months to get everything together.”
Though Ingratta has a lot of work ahead of her, she says she is glad to be back.
“I’ve had the most wonderful welcome from the students and faculty,” Ingratta said. “I’m really excited to be back, this is essentially a dream job for me to have.”