Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough's youngest principal has cerebral lineage

LUTZ — Shaylia McRae-Hall grew up surrounded by educators — aunts, uncles, cousins and her well-known grandparents, the first African-American professors at the University of South Florida.

So it's no surprise that she grew up to be an educator. What may be surprising to some is the fact that as principal of Martinez Middle School, she's younger than many of her teachers and parents.

McRae-Hall, 31, of Riverview, is the youngest principal in Hills-borough County.

Her meteoric rise began in high school at King, where, with the help of dual enrollment, she entered college with 18 credits. She attended the University of Florida for one year and transferred to USF, where she graduated after two years.

McRae-Hall taught at Franklin Middle and Plant High schools, where she sponsored clubs and coached track.

After her second year of teaching, she finished her master's program in 11 months. At 23, she decided to interview for an assistant principal job at Martinez "just to put my skills in action."

"I didn't think I was going to get hired at all right away because I was so young," she said.

Hers was one of the last interviews of the day. She landed the job.

Two years ago, McRae-Hall was named principal at Marshall. She now returns to Martinez as principal.

"We're No. 1 in the county for middle schools, and we're one of two schools that received the highest scores for FCAT Writes.

"We're at the top and we're doing well," she said. "The bad thing is, once you're on top, where do you go from there?"

So this year, they're defining clear goals for the entire school, she said.

McRae-Hall combines fun with learning, and her style is reflected in her laugh — easygoing, friendly and infectious.

She roams the halls and high-fives her students. She peeks into classrooms, not to evaluate the teachers, but to be involved. She sometimes will take over and teach a little, too.

This mother of a 7-month-old son wants her students to trust her, respect her and talk to her.

"If there's going to be something that happens on my campus, good or bad, I'm going to know about it before it even hits the fan," she said.

McRae-Hall is the granddaughter of Richard F. Pride, an educator with a school named for him in New Tampa.

Her job comes with a long commute from Riverview.

"It's 100 miles round trip," she said. "But it's worth it."

Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813) 269-5312 or

Hillsborough's youngest principal has cerebral lineage 07/31/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 4, 2008 2:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bicylist critically injured in crash involving SUV on Bayside Bridge


    A bicyclist was critically injured Friday morning when a driver drifted into his lane and struck him on the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Remnants of Cindy expected to drench Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia (w/video)


    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forecasters expect remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia Friday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rainfall, possible flash flooding and higher river and lake levels through the weekend.

    Wth a rising tide, strong southerly winds from Tropical Depression Cindy lash the lakefront Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Mandeville, La. [David Grunfeld | The Times-Picayune via AP]
  3. North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier (w/video)


    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday denied it cruelly treated or tortured an American student who was detained for more than year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  4. Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating President Trump at Glastonbury Festival (w/video)


    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about President Donald Trump.

    Actor Johnny Depp introduces a film at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017. [Grant Pollard | Invision/AP]
  5. Morning after off day: Rays ready for slumping O's