Find Orlando Family Magazine on Facebook! Follow Orlando Family Magazine on Twitter!

Together as One

Situated on an idyllic 48-acre campus in southwest Orange County, Windermere Preparatory School offers its students a one-of-a-kind experience, thanks in part to the lessons learned not only in the classroom, but also from one another.

That’s because Windermere Prep, despite calling Central Florida home, is truly an international school with nearly 70 different nationalities represented. With such a diverse student body, individuals are encouraged to embrace other cultures and break down the perceived barriers that separate them. This refreshing approach gives the students different perspectives on life and helps them grow into more well-rounded young men and women. 

Helping guide this collection of students from all walks of life are three new members of Windermere Prep’s senior leadership team, including new high school director Steve Murphy, new director of residential life Stéphane Allagnon as well as Dr. Lee Ann Rawlins Williams, who serves as director of student services and wellness. 

Murphy’s long-standing career in education began as a teacher at a large secondary school in his native England. Since then, he’s broadened his credentials by holding numerous leadership positions at several institutions, including his most recent position as head of secondary at the British International School of Houston. 

Now that he is a part of Windermere Prep, Murphy is eager to use his vast experience to make an immediate impact by working closely alongside his colleagues with the shared goal of inspiring students.

“As leaders, our role is very clear: to provide every student with authentic learning experiences that allow them to reach their aspirational destinations. Windermere Prep has collaboration at the heart of everything we do, and as a team we will be continuing to focus on growing the skills, knowledge and attributes [of our students],” Murphy says. “It has been a privilege to join the school and I look forward to contributing to the growing success we experience.”

Allagnon also brings extensive international education experience to his new role. Born and raised in France, he has taught abroad at both the high school and university level and arrives at Windermere Prep after having held the position of director of international and global connections at The Woodward School in Atlanta. 

He credits his time studying and working abroad with helping shape his individual growth, and he’s eager to share his insights and introduce students to the power of different cultures coming together as one. 

“We will concentrate on reminding everyone how important it is to keep an open mind and to create conversations,” Allagnon says. “In many ways, global starts local. We have the amazing chance to have a small representation of our own United Nations on our campus. We want more interactions between people, cultures and experiences. We all need to take the time to listen and share.”

Meanwhile, Williams is faced with the unique challenge of filling a new role at the school, and a very important one at that. With an impressive background in the field of student services, she aims to focus on students in a holistic way to help them grow into young adults.

“Academics is a unique part that encourages intellectual growth. However, my job goes much deeper to include everyday life. The best part of my job is the opportunity to provide support through the highs and lows that life may bring, to provide encouragement when feelings of doubt emerge, to share the laughs and tears, and through it all watch the exceptional change in the student,” says Williams. 

Williams’ position is especially notable in the wake of the pandemic when so many students have struggled with the academic challenges and personal stressors of trying to balance school, home life and work. 

“Health and wellness programs are essential as they encourage the socioemotional growth of students at all levels and provide the opportunity for students to learn how to make healthy choices in safe environments. … There must be a safe space where students feel that they can express their views openly, without judgment or criticism,” she says.

It’s just another example of how Windermere Prep encourages its students to connect and make their voices heard in an effort to better understand one another.

“Student involvement in school clubs and other groups on campus is paramount. This is a great way for them to have a voice in the school and our society. The more they get involved, the more we know how they feel and what they think. They are the future leaders of our society and the world,” Allagnon says. 

Ultimately, providing these rich experiences that build international mindedness and allow students to engage with other cultures provides them with opportunities that would not otherwise be possible. It’s no wonder then why the school has reached its capacity of 1,600 students two years in a row.

For Murphy, it’s a highly rewarding aspect of the profession and not one he takes for granted.

“It is important to recognize the power and importance of great teachers. Teachers across the world have a unique ability to inspire young minds, to build curiosity and to engage everyone in delivering their best outcomes.”

Windermere Preparatory School


(407) 905-7737