MANATEE -- Bradenton's new all-boys charter school Visible Men Academy announced Monday its new assistant principal and reading specialist.
Visible Men Academy Principal Neil Phillips named Mary Garcia Dodson assistant principal. Garcia Dodson was most recently the literacy coach at Southeast High School.
"I was really impressed by Mary's personal connection to our mission," Phillips said. "She is passionate about character building and social development background."
Garcia Dodson said it is important for young men to have male and female role models at school.
"Having mentors that are both male and female helps supplement areas where most of the young boys may be lacking, such as family," Garcia Dodson said. "The most important thing is to have a connection to the school's vision.
Phillips said he believes all students can benefit from role models in the school administration.
"We benefit from role models with similar backgrounds, gender or geographic location, but we also learn from people who are not so similar to us," Phillips said. "It is critical for our students to see women as strong role models."
Garcia Dodson said her experience growing up in New York will help her connect with students at Visible Men Academy.
"I have seen a lot," Garcia Dodson said. "Young men need mentoring, a family atmosphere and a unique culture."
Garcia Dodson said she is looking forward to bringing her experiences as a literacy coach and working with the director of adult education programs at Barry University.
As a literacy coach, Garcia Dodson created developmental strategies for teachers to help students better understand class contents.
"I am looking forward to the instruction, character, laughter, learning and collaboration at Visible Men," Garcia Dodson said. "The entire piece excites me so much. Watching a student learn to read and enjoy it melts my heart."
Visible Men Academy is a new charter school elementary and middle school. Its focus is to align Common Core academics instruction around etiquette, leadership, health and citizenship.
Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.