PRINCIPAL/ADMINISTRATOR: Ann Perez
Phone: (813) 975-7625
Fax: (813) 644-7681
Student Hours: 7:40 AM to 1:55 PM
Uniforms: Mandatory Uniforms
Before School Program: No
After School Program: Yes
The Lake Magdalene School, located in north central Hillsborough County, boasts the heritage of a community long committed to excellence in education. In the late 1880's or early 1890's, those living in what is now the Lake Magdalene School district were primarily farming families, quite separate from the small but growing town of Tampa. These families placed a high premium on education and in the late 1880's banded together to begin the task of creating a community-based program of formal education for their children and the generations to come. Since that time, the community has worked together, raising funds in hard times, supplying labor to erect school buildings, finding housing and supporting teachers charged with the task of educating their children. As the Lake Magdalene community has grown and been absorbed into the greater Tampa perimenter, Lake Magdalene community is able to reflect upon what it has achieved in the past one-hundred years: a century of excellence in education.
Records for a school in the Lake Magdalene district go back to 1888. The "Hazen's School" was located at the southern tip of Lake Magdalene just northwest of Lake George. It was joined by another small local school within the next few years, this school known as the "Pepper Pot" school on the Haypond Slough (near what is now Buchanan Junior High School). These two schools together had formed the basis for most of the education of the Lake Magdalene's families' children. In 1906 the Hillsborough County School Board created a third school and the other two were absorbed into what was to become know the following year as the Lake Magdalene School.
The Lake Magdalene School was first known as the "Horse-Pond School" because of its location at the north end of Lake Carroll, then called Horseshoe Pond. It was housed in a 14 x 18 foot building which had previously been used for many community farm and church meetings. It was soon moved to the corner of Lake Magdalene Boulevard and Ehrlich Road, where it would remain until 1926. The earliest known teacher of the Lake Magdalene School was Mr. Arthur Hackney, who was paid a salary of $35.00 per month for teaching fourteen students in grades one through eight.
In 1909, the Lake Magdalene School district was temporarily transferred from Hillsborough County to become part of Pinellas County. The teacher this year was a Miss Thomas who boarded with the W.O. Bearss family at their home on Lake Magdalene. At the end of this school year, this community was transferred back to Hillsborough County.
As was typical of the time, the next three teachers were also young women. Miss Kate Brooks taught in 1908, Miss Lindley in 1909, and Miss Pleasant Wyandt in 1910 and 1911. It was customary at that time for a girl to go right into teaching soon after graduating from high school, before being married, and these young teachers were expected to teach and discipline boys and girls of all ages and sizes from grades one through nine.
In 1912, a new two-story frame building was erected on the school grounds and the old building was razed. By 1914 enrollment had increased to the point of needing two teachers and for the first time the children were separated, one group upstairs and one group downstairs. In the 1918 Lake magdalene pupils were taught by one of their own graduates for the first time, Miss Esther Bearss, who taught with Miss Ruth Wells. However enrollement dropped below the point of needing two teachers and they once again had a single teacher at Lake Magdalene School. In 1920 this teacher was Miss Gladys Vandervort.
The year 1926 marked the end of an era for Lake Magdalene School and the beginning of a new era. Gone were the days when the children could eat their lunches on the shady banks of Lake Magdalene and the older boys could sneak away for show swim during the noon hour. Gone too was the noise of the small classes clattering up and down the stairway of the little tow room frame building. The community was growing and its needs were met with the building of a beautiful new school on five acres of property donated by Mr. H.E. White, the present site on Pine Lake Drive near Lake Carroll. The new building, erected on a concrete slab foundation, was cream colored stucco with a gabled roof and large auditorium. It was here, in February 1927, that the Lake Magdalene P.T.A. was first organized with Mrs. H.E. White as its first president. It was to grow into one of the most active P.T.A.s in the county.
On March 27, 1930, tragedy struck the Lake Magdalene community as their almost new school building burned to the ground. The loss of the building and all of its contents was estimated at $60,000 - a fortune at that time. The school was rebuilt with insurance money and a double bond issue on taxpayers of the district while the students continued their studies using the facilities of nearby Lake Magdalene United Brethern Church (now Lake Magdalene United Methodist). In September of 1930 construction was completed and the students were once again housed in a new facility - this one built of fireproof red bricks.
The school continued to grow and in 1934 the P.T.A. decided to sponsor the building of the first lunchroom. Built by volunteer labor, it was approximately 18 x 30 feet, and lunches were offered for a nickel with milk and additional nickel. The thirties continued with many improvements, a larger faculty and a continually growing student population. In 1940 the school was asked to include ninth graders for the first time, but in 1943 they moved to Oak Grove School. During the war years, the school lost its principal, Mr. F.H. Thomas, to the armed services and Miss Ethel Means returned as principal, a post which she had already held since 1930.
Miss Means would remain at Lake Magdalene until 1956, when she retired. Under her direction the school had grown from a three-teacher school with 71 students to a large educational plant consisting of 22 classrooms, cafeteria, library, two first aid rooms, two offices, teacher's lounge and an ample number of modern restrooms. The enrollment in May of 1956 was almost 800 students. There were 22 classroom teachers. Ms. Josephine Windham became principal after Miss Means retired.