By: Lee Magnet High School (LMHS) 12th Grade Students –
Noah Clifton, Kelsey Mack, & Marisa Miranda;
LMHS Librarian – Stacey Luther, MLIS
Lee Magnet High School has been blessed with not one, but two exceptional principals: Nanette McCann and Sharon Sims. Under their guidance, the new magnet school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is bursting at the seams with potential as students are bonding in their temporary home at Valley Park on Bawell Street. The “Patriots” are ready for the great things that lay ahead of them at the new campus that is under construction and will be near completion by March 2016. Lee Magnet High School is a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) based school that is set to be one of the most prestigious schools in the state, offering a unique learning environment and experiences for students.
Considering her illustrious 14 year career at the nationally acclaimed Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Principal Nanette McCann is well suited to drive the new Lee Magnet High School toward success. Under her leadership, Baton Rouge Magnet High School has admirably earned many awards at the local, state, and national levels. Under Mrs. McCann’s guidance, Baton Rouge Magnet High was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2015 and a Magnet Schools of America School of Distinction the last four years. McCann claims her success is the result of having awesome mentors throughout her career in education. In a Greater Baton Rouge Business Report interview, McCann stated, “All my life I’ve had good people who have steered me in the right direction. What those people gave me I want to give back.”
Principal McCann is not the only outstanding leader at the new Lee Magnet High School, Associate Principal Sharon Sims is heavily involved in the overall planning of the new campus, staff development, and the STEM based curriculum. Mrs. Sims resides at Lee Magnet High School throughout the school day and is in charge of the day to day operations, while Mrs. McCann shares her time between two magnet schools Lee and Baton Rouge, which are 2.1 miles apart. Mrs. Sims has been the Associate Principal for two years at Lee Magnet High School where she transitioned from Baton Rouge High as Assistant Principal. Mrs. Sims has 22 years of varied experience which includes serving in rural, inner city, traditional and magnet schools. Her ability to advocate for teachers and students alike and make decisions that are in the best interest of students are a few of her admirable qualities.
As ‘a school like no other’ Lee Magnet High is one of the few schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish School system where students are issued their very own laptop to take home and bring to school each day. Of her many responsibilities, Mrs. Sims is currently overseeing the new 1:1 student laptop initiative at Lee. Mrs. Sims works collaboratively with Mrs. McCann and the school district’s technology administrators and staff to manage and implement the 1:1 laptop program. Principal Sims is also advancing the school forward by ensuring teachers are provided professional development on Google Classroom, which will help the magnet school reach its vision of providing students with an interactive 21st century virtual classroom experience in each of their classes. Mrs. Sims has always been an avid supporter of technology in education. Even before the 1:1 laptop initiative she encouraged teachers to use Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies and other opportunities to integrate technology across the curriculum.
Managing the transformation of Lee from a traditional public school to a new rigorous magnet school with high expectations is a huge undertaking that Principal McCann and Principal Sims are well prepared to handle. By involving all stakeholders including local community leaders, organizations, and Louisiana State University they are carefully laying the foundation of what is sure to be another Blue Ribbon magnet school in Baton Rouge. Offering a specialized STEM based program in a state of the art facility that has the feel of a college campus, the new Lee Magnet High School facility is set to open its doors to students beginning August 2016. Amidst all these school changes in the last four years, the opportunity to be a student at Lee Magnet High School is something to be admired, earned and envied!
Raise the level of performance consistent throughout school districts nationwide and creates a platform from which all magnet schools can flourish. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.