For the 2011-12 school year, the students at Dr. John Long Middle School in Wiregrass Ranch will notice a new face on the administrative side of the hallway, and it will likely be smiling.

Christine Wolff, the former principal of Chasco Middle School in Port Richey, has stepped in to replace Beth Brown, the only principal Long Middle School has had since its opening in 2005. Brown recently was promoted to executive director of secondary schools for the Pasco County School Board (PCSB), and is looking forward to Wolff’s success at Long.

“I could not be happier with the School Board’s decision in choosing Christine as principal,” said Brown, “I have handed over the reins to her and I know that she is very capable, and excited about the job.”

Wolff says she cannot wait for the school year to begin, and adds that Brown left “big shoes to fill,” but has high hopes for her new job.

“I want to keep up with the school’s traditions,” says Wolff, “It is known for its great staff collaboration, academic excellence and parental involvement.”

Wolff says she plans to embrace the foundation that Brown and the teaching staff at Long helped create six years ago. According to Wolff, the staff and the Wesley Chapel community have warmly embraced her as the school’s new principal. Brown says that School District officials handpicked Wolff because of her experience at other Pasco schools, and because she exhibits great leadership qualities.

“I hope to continue the positive impact in the school by providing a top-notch education to our students,” says Wolff.

Wolff and Brown have had a long-standing relationship, working together for several years. Both women taught together at Weightman Middle School in Wesley Chapel and had classrooms across the hallway from each other. A few years later, Wolff taught at Wesley Chapel High (WCH), where Brown was an administrator, and eventually worked as an assistant principal at WCH with Brown.

Now, Brown will be overseeing Long and other middle schools in the county, where she will stay connected with Wolff and the rest of the staff. “The school was like my second home,” says Brown.

Brown had much to do with the achievements at Long, which continually boasts impressive academic scores (2011 marks the fifth year in a row in which the school has received an “A” rating), but she also can be credited with giving the school the same “feel” it has today. Brown helped choose everything from the school’s colors to its mascot, the Longhorns.

Long is the largest middle school in Pasco County, with a teaching staff of around 120 overseeing more than 1,500 students.

Wolff received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, as well as a second Master’s degree she received from the University of South Florida in 2000. — Sean Bowes

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