Polk County principal dies suddenly at 50, remembered as compassionate leader of Bok Academy South

Polk County

(Lake Wales Charter Schools photo)

LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) – The Lake Wales community is reeling from the sudden loss of an icon in the charter school system.

Longtime Bok Academy South Principal Damien Moses died unexpectedly on July 22. Moses was just 50 years old.

School officials have not released his cause of death.

Moses grew up in Orlando and started working in the Polk County Public School system 27 years ago as a teacher, then assistant principal at Lewis Anna Woodberry Elementary School.

He later transitioned to the Lake Wales charter school system as assistant principal at Lake Wales High School.

Moses has been principal at Bok Academy South Middle School for 11 years, according to his obituary.

“I think his legacy is one of compassion, authenticity, a legacy of striving to absolutely go for being the best you possibly can be in life,” Lake Wales High School Principal Donna Dunson said. “His legacy will be many kids in Lake Wales striving for greatness, no question.”

Moses prioritized digital content development with his students and created unique educational opportunities, including a pontoon boat used for scientific research on Crooked Lake, Dunson said.

“His energy was just electrifying, very vibrant energy. He could flat out hold an audience of teenagers in the best way,” said Dunson.

A celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday at noon at the Lake Wales High School gymnasium. The ceremony will be streamed live here.

Moses is survived by his wife and two college-aged children.

A scholarship has been set up to help his children finish college. People who want to donate can contact the Lake Wales charter office at (863) 679-6560.

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