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Cape High principal named school district’s chief academic officer

By Staff | Jun 27, 2019

An educator who has been in the School District of Lee County for more than two decades will take the role of chief academic officer beginning Monday.

“Dr. (Jeff) Spiro has been a leader in this district for more than two decades,” Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins said in a prepared statement. “His expertise will be invaluable in continuing the academic gains our students have made, while energizing the division and the District with innovative ideas. I look forward to working more closely with him to help our students reach their highest personal potentials.”

Spiro, who grew up in Cape Coral and attended Caloosa Elementary, Caloosa Middle and Cape Coral High School, is nearing 27 years of working in the school district.

“I feel very blessed with my career. I have had some really great opportunities to work with some people across the district,” he said.

The career path of becoming an educator began when he was a youngster playing school with his sister. Spiro said he was always the principal, while his sister played the role of a student.

Although he had some great teachers that inspired him to take the route as an educator, a counselor during his middle school years was who really helped shape his path.

After graduating from Cape Coral High School, Spiro went to what is now known as Florida Southwestern State College before continuing to Florida State University for his undergraduate degree. Since teaching positions were few and far in-between when he finished school, he found a substituting teacher job to get his foot in the door.

His first teaching assignment, as social studies teacher at Caloosa Middle School, was a great experience because a teacher he had while attending the school, was still there when he became a teacher.

His first assistant principal position was at Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School and his first principal position was at Alva Elementary School. Spiro was also a principal at Lehigh Senior High School and North Fort Myers High School and an assistant principal at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts and Cypress Lake High School. His career also included being the executive director over all high schools, middle schools and JROTC programs.

His last position was serving as the principal of Cape Coral High School for the past three years. Spiro said going back to his alma mater as a school principal was surreal because as he turned corners of the hallways, memories of his teenage years would surface.

Spiro’s career has given him the chance to work in all of the district’s zones, as well as different positions.

“Honestly, the proudest moments are two-fold,” Spiro said.

The chance to work with students definitely stands out.

“The students of today are really amazing young individuals. Very socially conscious, they think globally. It’s a much different perspective from what I had growing up. Their future is so bright,” Spiro said, adding that despite what you read and watch on the news, students are doing the right thing and making good decisions.

He said he has also enjoyed working with the teachers across the district.

“We have very talented teachers inside this district. My career has been blessed,” Spiro said.

With his new role as chief academic officer, Spiro will be responsible for developing and implementing high-quality pre-kindergarten through adult instructional programs. He said he will look at the whole child while filling this role, not only in the educational form, but also social and emotional support as well.

“The future is taking consideration as the whole child, personalized and individualized learning for each student. At this point in my career I feel I can have a greater impact touching on the entire district. I wanted to take the practices and experiences I have had throughout my career and use those collectively to have a greater impact,” Spiro said.

Transitioning into his new role on July 1 will be somewhat easy due to the work Dr. Wanda Creel put into place with her team. When taking his new position he said he will not change the landscape that Dr. Creel put into place, but rather immerse himself in the environment and become a part of the team that is already in place.

“We will start evaluating for the following year,” Spiro said. “They already have great plans that are in place. I have been part of the work that she has done. I have already been immersed in it as a principal. I will take that work and build upon it. I am honored and humbled, but very excited to be taking the helm and leading the Academic Service Division into the future.”

Although he is beyond excited about the new opportunity he said he is going to miss the kids, walking down the hallways, greeting everyone in the morning, seeing the kids at lunch and greeting them at pep rallies.

“However, I will be visiting the schools, so I can make sure I get that dose of students,” Spiro said.

Advertisement is currently under way to replace his position as principal at Cape Coral High School. He said he is working on a transition plan for Cape Coral High School to make sure the next principal comes in and hits the ground running.

Spiro said the next principal can come in and learn the children, while doing culture building. To ensure that smooth transition, he is a member of the interview team.

“I am one of the individuals to help pick the replacement for the position,” Spiro said.

A new principal will begin by the start of the new school year.