LRHS@20 – First day teachers reflect as second decade nears an end

Hannah Kennelly – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS is celebrating its 20-year anniversary and to commemorate the teachers and staff that have been with the school since the start, “Mustangs Ahead” is asking them to share their experiences. This series will also feature yearbook photos from 1998 and the present.  Our list of featured teachers will grow as the school year nears an end.

Jill Mullins – Media Specialist

mullins 98LRHS Media Specialist Jill Mullins began working at the school 20 years ago.  Mullins remembers a time when classrooms were once vacant, the buildings a different color, and dress code required shoes to have backs.mullins 19

Advice Mullins would give to incoming teachers is, “get to know your students and reach out to the kids who are often ‘in the middle’ as they are often overlooked.”  Mullins also suggests incoming teachers to try to make it to at least a couple of extracurricular events each quarter.

Melissa Koehlinger – Exceptional Student Education Teacher (ESE)

koehlinger 98Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teacher Melissa Koehlinger has been at LRHS since the day the school opened. Koehlinger taught at koehlinger 19Southeast High School but has no regrets in her decision to follow her friends to LRHS. One of Koehlinger’s proudest moments was starting the cheer program with math teacher Macie French and since then, two of their former athletes have coached varsity.

Macie French – Math Teacher

french 98Macie French began teaching at LRHS in August of 1998 and has even taught some current teachers. Teachers Sejal Desai, Bryan Richards, Jessica Pellicone, Delaney Riggins, and Kristen Wikstrom all had french 19French.

Since teaching at LRHS, French has noticed many changes over the years, “The biggest changes have been better discipline, students being more focused, and a tremendous improvement in the extracurricular programs.”


Bryan Thomas – Biology Teacher

thomas 98Bryan Thomas was hired as the LRHS Science Department Chair in October of 1997 to serve on the leadership cadre put together by founding principal Roy Larsen.  Thomas was still teaching and coaching at Southeast High School as well, until LRHS opened in August of 1998.

Thomas recalls his fondest memories of LRHS being the first few years thomas 19getting the school up and running, “Everything was new and had to be developed from scratch.  It was a chance to influence the school’s direction from the very beginning.”

Thomas was even fortunate enough to work with his wife Deena Thomas at his side.  She  taught English at LRHS from 1998 to 2014.

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