Symmes Elementary welcomes new principal

Published on: September 27, 2012

Symmes Elementary School principal Dr. Julie Hasson. Photo Mitch Traphagen

Symmes Elementary School principal Dr. Julie Hasson. Photo Mitch Traphagen


RIVERVIEW — Symmes Elementary School principal Dr. Julie Hasson Dr. Julie Hasson filled the top post, beginning just last week.
Dr. Hasson moved to Hillsborough County in 2000 and began her career here teaching at Lithia Springs Elementary, rising to become assistant principal in 2006. In 2009, she opened Stowers Elementary in Lithia as the assistant principal. Last year she earned her doctorate in educational leadership at Rollins College in Winter Park.

“I feel that it is important to share my personal leadership vision as a part of my entry plan,” she wrote in a web biography that included the detailed plan. “I believe that more than curriculum or resources, the greatest impact on students emanates from the people in a school. Therefore, relationships are at the heart of a school’s success. Hiring the best people and then empowering them to make decisions and feel ownership are keys to leading a high performing school. I believe in shared leadership, but also in holding people accountable for the success of our students.”

Dr. Hasson has set goals to reach success as part of a plan that would be the envy of some corporations. Amidst the actionable and accountable items in her plan, and the acknowledgement that the teachers and staff in the school are the resources for success, is the very real awareness that she is working with the greatest resource of all — the children in her school. She and the teachers will be helping to shape a successful future for the children, something that may not be fully measurable for years to come.

“It makes a difference to go into this with a plan,” Dr. Hasson said. “For a school administrator there is the management aspect, managing the school environment. We have to have the management piece. And there is the educational aspect that we have to balance, with our teachers focused on that. We are focusing on educational leadership. We’re looking at the business methods to make that efficient and effective.”

Together, those aspects are to come together to fill the school’s vision: “Lillian Symmes Elementary students will develop skills necessary to become productive members of society as lifelong learners and decision makers.”

After just five days at the helm of the school, Dr. Hasson opened the doors to the media center on Friday, inviting parents and members of the community in for a meet-and-greet session. What did she think after hitting the ground running with school already in session?

“It’s been a really great week,” she said with a cheerful smile.

Information about Symmes Elementary can be found on the web at