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A new Leadership Academy has emerged in Hillsborough County to serve students from Pre-K to 8th grade

August 15, 2018 - Points of Pride

It is the start of the 2018-19 school year, with lots of exciting changes and additions to meet the growing needs of our students and communities in which we serve. On August 9th, we held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the newly remodeled campuses that once were home to Cahoon Elementary and Van Buren Middle School, in the North Tampa area. The school is named after Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is known to many as the founder of Black History Month and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Students attending Dr. Carter G. Woodson PK-8 School will be provided with rich academic and leadership opportunities, and Woodson staff will focus on the whole child— their character, intellectual, emotional, social and physical well-being.  

The district’s Operations team, along with construction team, Williams Company, and design team, Long & Associates, were presented with the challenge of unifying two separate campuses into a newly branded school, a lower campus serving pre-kindergarten through 5th grade and an upper campus serving students from 6th to 8th grade. They worked tirelessly for months to get the campus transformation complete before the start of the school year.

When you arrive on campus you are greeted with a new state of the art digital marquee and ample parking for staff and visitors. This $3.1 million project also included painting, the remodeling of 110,000 square feet of walkways and exterior courtyards, a vibrant cafeteria space with a new air conditioning system, and updated classrooms and technology for innovative learning. As you walk the grounds of the campus, you will see multiple areas for outdoor learning experiences for the Woodson Wolves, which includes AstroTurf. What you will not see is the underground work that took place, where crews have worked hard to upgrade utility systems for easier maintenance in the future.

“The actual transformation that took place, those who have seen this campus a year ago compared to where we are today, you know how much work has gone into this project. We are excited for everyone to see the results of the work and look forward to continue supporting the Woodson team,” said Chris Farkas, Deputy Superintendent of Operations.

During her message at the ribbon cutting Tyna Middleton, the President of ASALH of Tampa Bay shared, “We will support these students so that they do not lose sight of their inspiration, learn the accomplishments of their forbearers, and with that knowledge, grow stronger in their sense of who they are and what they can become.”

The faculty and staff are dedicated to offering a triangle of support for the families, school, and community as a whole. The Woodson Wolves will be immersed in rigorous course work and experience keynote speakers from area business and community leaders.  With over 40 Community Partnerships already in place, including All Pro Dads, iMoms, Pepsi, Publix, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and ZooTampa at Lowry Park to name a few, the students are already set up with a strong support system to start the school year off right. Students will also receive leadership development and character education using the Leader in Me Program and 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.

“Our school wide theme is Greatness by Design. Greatness is not an accident. It takes design and hard work. It takes a heightened level of being focused. At Dr. Carter G. Woodson Leadership Academy, we are building a strong culture of learning for our pre-kindergarten to eighth grade students,” said Principal, Ovett Wilson.

We are excited to add Dr. Carter G. Woodson PK-8 School and Leadership Academy to our growing district, and we look forward to fostering more partnerships for the well-being of the students in this community as we climb together.

Woodson Mission: To cultivate a scholarly community where all students achieve intellectual and personal excellence through leadership development, innovative learning, individual responsibility, and impactful service.

Woodson Vision: Empowering every student, every day, for life.

To learn more about the Dr. Carter G. Woodson PK-8 School, visit:


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