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Parents get preview of new high school

September 4, 2019
By MELISSA?BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The School District of Lee County on Thursday welcomed a room full of excited future students, parents and other members of the community for a presentation about the construction of East Zone High School MMM.

They got a glimpse at not only the school-to-be, but met the people who will make it possible.

The meeting at Varsity Lakes Middle School began with a 30-minute presentation and a welcome from Lee County School Board Chair Gwyn Gittens.

"I'm so excited to see so many of you out. It's a thought of mine, the quote it takes a village to raise a child. Well it takes a village to do what we are trying to do here; raise a child. That's why it's so important that we have your input into your child's education," Gittens said.

Gittens spoke a little about her time co-teaching with the new school's principal Neketa Watson, at Lehigh Senior High School.

"I'm so, so very proud to see all of the hard work that she has done. That she is going to be the principal of the new High School MMM. Trust me in that you have the best. She totally believes in children and the children love her," Gittens said.

Neketa Watson, who previously served as principal of Lehigh Acres Middle School, was selected as principal of High School MMM in Gateway.

Following a welcome from the chair, Neketa Watson, took the podium to talk about her experience in the education system.

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to serve this community as the principal of this new high school. This is my way of giving back to the community for helping to mold me to be the person I am today. When this high school opens in the year 2021, it will be 20 years since I started my career in this community as a teacher," Watson said.

She then went over the academic programs and academies the school will offer and why they were selected.

"We tried to analyze the local workforce trends, community and business needs, and also considered students' interest," Watson said.

The academies to be offered include: Academy of Veterinary Science, Academy of Medical Science, Academy of Construction Technology with a focus on Carpentry and Cybersecurity.

Watson then called for the audience's participation is selecting the school colors, a mascot and name for the school.

Residents can also participate online and fill out a form to pick the future name of East Zone MMM at

Included in the presentation, was a view of the campus' site plan and a digital tour of the school by Bryan Lee, an architect from BSSW Architects, followed by brief project overview and timeline given by Shelly Peterson from Suffolk Construction.

Once the presentation had finished, attendees could visit an array of stations around the cafeteria that showcased the various programs and academies. They could ask questions and get additional information on what was presented earlier.

According to Watson, for her, this presents an exciting opportunity.

"Last week I had the chance to select the brick color to be used in the building. Now, I get to help decide on everything else from the ground up, including hiring our staff, and working to help build and launch each one of our academies," Watson said.

East Zone MMM High School will be added to the list of schools available to the East District during the upcoming school choice process, which will run between January and March 2020.

By fall 2021, freshmen who are confirmed to attend East Zone MMM, will be housed in portables staged at Lehigh Senior High School, which will have separate entrances and exits, bathrooms and classes.

According to a spokesperson from Lee County Schools, the county plans to next focus on the construction of Middle School MM.

For more information on Lee County School's visit



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