MINA Charter School celebrates expansion

Mar. 2—After years of hard work and construction MINA Charter School of Lee County officially unveiled its completed building to the public.

Last Friday, students, staff and public officials met outside the school, located at 2732 Industrial Dr. In 2002 the school started out just serving kindergarten and 5-year-olds and now the building is completed at 50,000 square feet.

Shawn E. Williams, the school's lead administrator and founder, said he is proud of what has been accomplished and believes his mother, Wilhemina, would be as well.

"I'm sure she would have been," he said

He named the school after his mother's name and is also an acronym for More Is Now Achievable.

It took about $4 million to complete the project and currently houses classes from kindergarten to fifth grade. With the expansion completed grades will slowly be implemented annually at the school up to the eighth grade.

The next step is to get a high school facility built, but in the meantime he is happy with space they have so far. He wants to use the new space for other things than just classrooms.

"I think as we expand we'll be adding our theater arts program, and vocational and technology training programs," he said.

He said schools like his have a need to fill and prepare students for vocational jobs as well as those requiring a college degree. He believes of stopping the poverty to prison pipeline that often traps students.

"I'm from New York City and came to Sanford in 2007 and did after-school programs while building up to the school," he said. "I was a traditionalist that public school is the way, but saw there was a difference."

He said charter schools are the difference and plans to continue to educate students under this method.