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History of The Schools of McKeel Academy

McKeel Academy of Technology was the first conversion charter secondary school in the state of Florida in 1998, opening their doors in 1995 as a middle school of choice. Before he retired, founding principal and superintendent Mr. Harold Maready had over 30 years of experience in public schools and is recognized as a leader in the charter school movement. The 9-member volunteer Board of Trustees, includes the Teachers of the Year from each school in an advisory role to the Board, governs and provides oversight for the school system.

The McKeel programs have been very successful. They have achieved ‘A’ status for almost every year they have been charter (since 2000). The school replicated their effective program with two additional campuses, McKeel Academy Central (formerly known as McKeel Elementary Academy), which has always been an ‘A’ school, and South McKeel Academy that has been an ‘A’ almost every year since it opened. They have also credited their excellent teaching staff with their exceptional results on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests, consistently scoring higher than the state and county. In 2011, each school individually, and The Schools of McKeel Academy as a system, were designated by the Florida Department of Education as High-Performing, which has resulted in more financial resources and an increase in the cap on enrollment.

The Schools of McKeel Academy have over 240 staff members serving their three campuses: McKeel Academy of Technology, a 7-12 program in west Lakeland with over 1,275 students, McKeel Academy Central a K-6 program in downtown Lakeland with 570 students, and South McKeel Academy a PreK -7 program in south Lakeland with over 1,160 students.

  1. McKeel Academy of Technology was established as a School of Choice in the Polk County school district.

  2. McKeel Academy of Technology becomes the first conversion secondary charter school in Florida with founding Principal Harold Maready.

  3. McKeel Elementary Academy was established as a startup charter school and an elementary feeder program for MAT.

  4. South McKeel Elementary Academy was established as a startup charter school and a second elementary feeder program for MAT.

  5. South McKeel Elementary Academy expands adding grades 6 and 7 and changes their name to South McKeel Academy.

  6. McKeel Elementary Academy and South McKeel Academy designated as high performing charter schools by the Florida Department of Education.

  7. McKeel Academy of Technology designated as a high-performing charter school by the Florida Department of Education.

  8. The Schools of McKeel Academy designated as a high-performing charter school system by the Florida Department of Education.

  9. McKeel Elementary Academy expands adding grade 6 and changes their name to McKeel Academy Central.

  10. McKeel Academy Central completes their expansion with a new two story building on their campus.

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