Our Principal

Donna Dunson

A message from our Principal:


I am so impressed with the students on this Ridge who are helping build this community. The academic

achievement drew the attention of some county officials; these gains were in math and reading. In

addition, the survey results about behavior and the climate at LWHS were also impressive. I do want to

thank the staff and students for the improvements. We are taking this work to the next level.

As this year unfolds, we are expanding our course offerings with construction, sports management, IB

geography and entrepreneurship; we are also extremely happy to have a full-time art teacher on staff. We

hope this will help students stretch their horizons and have more areas to explore.

In addition, we are using Design Thinking as a way of knowing. Our staff will continue to ask students to

think critically using Design Thinking principles. This pedagogical approach is called Keystone. Using

design principles and architecture as a working metaphor for all learning, this approach places the student

at the center of the learning experience. Students are lead to explore, imagine, investigate, and create a

foundation that will help them understand all disciplines.

Keystone moves teachers into the world of visual thinking as they seek to expose students to the beauty

of the natural and built environment; the goal is to provide students a framework of knowledge and

understanding — an understanding of how patterns in each discipline shape the world.

Transitioning into this way of thinking is a two year process during which we will be providing

information. I hope you will support this shift in thinking.

One key request I do have as we begin this year is to help us keep the students in school. So many of the

students who are currently below a 2.0 are simply in that GPA range because they do not attend school on

a regular basis; looking for your help in this area.

We are here to help throughout this year. We hope you will join us in creating the best environment

possible for your son or daughter. It will take us working every angle and working together to ensure

their success.


Donna Dunson, Principal

Lake Wales High School


2007-2010 Edward W. Bok Academy – Lake Wales, FL
• Led a team of excellent educators in designing and implementing a school that achieved an “A” rating from the state of Florida

2003-2007 Polk Avenue Elementary – Lake Wales, FL
•Academically moved the school
•Brought the school out of deficit spending in a two year period

2002-2003 Ross School – East Hampton, NY
Head of School (three months as Assistant Head)

Areas of Responsibility
•Manage multi-million dollar budget and conduct mid-year reductions
•Conduct extensive curriculum review
•Design strategy to improve SAT scores and implement procedures for review of standardize test results
•Evaluate Faculty
•Work with Executive Team to develop alternative revenue streams
•Oversee M-term projects – field study programs – Senior Projects
•Execute Board and Parent Association responsibilities
•Walk Ross community through a 25 percent tuition increase

•Assists in collaboration with a Swedish school
•Design and establish a collaboration with a public high school in East Hampton – will generate approximately $200,000
•Increase community visibility of the Ross School
•Develop and expand the fund raising effort
•Develop community service component

1993-2001 Atlanta International School- Atlanta, GA
Head of Secondary

Areas of Responsibility
•Oversee Curriculum and Assessment
•Manage Budget
•Oversee International Baccalaureate
•Facilitate Secondary School Operations
•Design and Implement Staff Development and Evaluations
•Coordinate Student/parent counseling and consultations

Academic Initiatives
•Design and implement program to improve writing/math/SAT scores
•Conduct Pre-IB curriculum improvement, grades 6-10
•Reframe and improve Mentoring and Community Service
•Design and conduct Diversity Seminars
•Field Experiences-curriculum based: Africa-community service; Mesa Verde architecture; Europe-art and architecture; Canada-UN Landmine Treaty Signing

AIS Board of Trustees Committee Member
•Buildings and Grounds
•Strategic Planning

Special Projects
•Accreditation (SACS,ECIS)
•Keystone Curriculum (Designed Interdisciplinary architectural approach to learning in grades 6-10)
•Design and Discourse teacher; Theory of Knowledge lecturer
•Community Service grades 6-12 (Established International Student’s Against Landmine Initiative: a network of public and private schools)
•AIS Summer Experience (Established language, arts, and sports program ages 4-12)
•Fund Raising

1986-1993 Pensacola High School – Pensacola, FL
International Baccalaureate Coordinator-District Magnet Program Founding Coordinator

Areas of Responsibility
•Conduct Strategic Planning for District Magnet
•Oversee Curriculum and Assessment
•Design and implement Staff Development and Evaluation
•Manage Budget
•Conduct Admissions and College Counseling
•Design Marketing plan for IB within the Pensacola community

Academic Initiatives
•Design extensive math/writing support programs for feeder schools
•Create Advisory Program utilizing parents and community leaders
•Create a summer Program for academically disenfranchised students
•Oversee IB magnet—model for future IB schools in US

Special Projects
•Parent Volunteer Network
•Community Partnership with Monsanto Corporation
•Community Service Project in Historic Pensacola working with the
Florida State Preservation Board-Lear House Project combining
community service and fund raising

1981-1986 Pensacola High School – Pensacola, FL
English Teacher-Gifted Program-Teacher of the Year-PHS
Journalism Teacher-District Teacher of the Year
Director Grant Program for Vietnamese Group Home

1980-1981 Pensacola Catholic High – Pensacola, FL
School Radio Program for students-creator and instructor

1980-1982 WCOA – Pensacola, FL
WCOA-News reporter

1979-1980 WSIR - Winter Haven, FL
News Editor WSIR radio

1978-1979 Winter Haven High School- Winter Haven, FL

1976-1978 Pensacola Catholic High – Pensacola, FL


MA, University of West Florida
BA, University of West Florida

Related Professional Experience

1999-2001 International Baccalaureate North America Board Member
1998-2001 IBO Development Committee Member
•Established Development Dept. Grant Writing for the Development Office
1995-2001 International Baccalaureate Heads of School Committee
•Worldwide-15 member governing body of the IB
•Elected to serve 2-3 year terms
•Vice-Chair of Executive Committee-1999-2000
•Strategic Planning Committee Member
1996-1998 International Baccalaureate North American Representative to Community Service Advisory Board
1993-2000 IB schools in North America
1990-1993 Process of Learning Consulting
•Founder and Director Workshops for Parents and Students
1990-1993 Commentator for NPR affiliate WUWF
1989-1990 President of Florida League of IB Schools

Lake Wales High School

What our donors say...

“The time is right to maximize this opportunity by equipping the teachers and students with the latest and best technology. I’m optimistic that this gift will allow everyone — administrators, teachers and students — to realize their full potential.” – Anonymous donor, after giving $1 million to Lake Wales High School, March 2011

What our students say...

Here are some words our students use describe us: “Respectful, awesome, outgoing, caring, adventurous, loving, wonderful, unique, creative, and hands-on.” Come visit us and let us know what word you’d like to add to the list!

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