By Malissa Luckett
Atlantic Coast High School principal Debra Lynch is big proponent of neighborhood schools. She has prior experience as the principal of a magnet school, Stanton College Prep, before leading Atlantic Coast, so she is qualified to make this observation.
“What makes Atlantic Coast unique is the opportunity for student interest to be incorporated in course selection — with classes such as the Executive Internship Program that we piloted the curriculum for. We also have classes such as Holocaust Studies and Forensic Science that many students are interested in,” said Lynch.
When Lynch joined Atlantic Coast, everything about the school was new, and there were various surveys and meetings to formulate the school. During community meetings, the school’s colors and mascot were voted on — burnt orange and black won, along with the mascot choice of a stingray. Lynch says she has fond memories of the beginning of Atlantic Coast.
Every year since the doors opened at Atlantic Coast, there has been academic improvement. Atlantic Coast has now been in existence for six years and is an “A” school, along with being in the top five schools with the highest AP testing pass rates.
“We have teachers such as Mr. Frencl, who has a 98 percent pass rate in Calculus AB and Calculus BC — which is the highest pass rate in the county for these exams,” said Lynch.
Lynch earned her bachelor’s degree in political science. She attended Furman University and Jacksonville University, and she received her master’s degree from the University of North Florida. She had not planned to become a teacher, but says she fell in love with the job. Likewise, before becoming a principal she never aspired to be in administration, but she now enjoys and is challenged by her job.
She does admit to sometimes missing the hands-on experience of teaching in the classroom. Lynch says she enjoys sitting in on classes in her school, such as the Executive Internship class when there are in-class seminars, because she finds it interesting to hear students talk passionately about interning in their desired major field.
Photo by Malissa Luckett
Debra Lynch, principal of Atlantic Coast High School.