As a Polk County native and sixth generation Floridian, Amy Hardee has been steadfast in educating the children and teachers of Polk County for 22 years. Amy Hardee earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education at FSU, and then began her teaching career in 1994 at George Jenkins Senior. In 1996, Amy Hardee taught English at BHS and the International Baccalaureate Program. In 2004, Mrs. Hardee earned her Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. From 2007 to 2010, Mrs. Hardee served Polk County Schools as Senior Curriculum Coordinator of Language Arts, grades 6-12. Mrs. Hardee joined Fort Meade Middle Senior High School in July 2010. Partnering with the staff, parents, and the Fort Meade community, Mrs. Hardee believes that every student can learn, think, and achieve.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Assistant Principal of Curriculum
Born and raised in Lake Wales, Mr. Blankenship’s focus is on helping Polk County students be successful. Matt Blankenship graduated from University of South Florida with a Bachelors in English Literature and a Masters in Educational Leadership. Mr. Blankenship is currently pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in Literacy studies from University of South Florida and frequently presents at regional, state and national conferences to teachers on best literacy practices. Beginning his career at Auburndale High School, Mr. Blankenship worked for eight years as a teacher and dean before moving to Fort Meade Middle Senior High School.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela
Assistant Principal of Administration
Mr. Dent has lived in Polk County for over 23 years, graduating from Lake Wales High School and also completing all of his college education in Polk County. He has worked in Polk County schools for 10 years, beginning his career in Lake Wales. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education Teacher Education from Warner Southern College, and began teaching Exceptional Student Education at Lake Wales High School. In 2005, Mr. Dent moved to McLaughlin Middle School and earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida. In 2009, Mr. Dent moved to Lake Gibson Middle and served as a Dean of Students and Acting Assistant Principal before transferring to Fort Meade Middle Senior High School in January 2014.
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
Assistant Principal 2
Dean of Students
Mr. Cornelius is a Polk County native who graduated from Fort Meade High School. He has served in Polk County schools for nearly eight years, all of which have been at Fort Meade Middle Senior High School. After beginning his career as a special education teacher, Mr. Cornelius also served as the Local Education Advocate for students with disabilities on campus. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences from the University of Florida, and he holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. Mr. Cornelius believes in empowering students to become the best versions of themselves.
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” - Jim Rohn