Shadow a Student Series – Norfolk Highlands Primary

Spring can be a particularly busy season for educators. As administrators, in particular, your days can quickly be filled with meetings, testing schedules, teacher observations, and so many other tasks. But the spring can also be a great time to evaluate and reflect on the practices that have shaped your school culture so far this year and still have plenty of time to make adjustments as needed so your students finish the school year strong. With that idea in mind, I recently issued the Shadow a Student Challenge to my administrators. It’s designed to be a fun, illuminating, and supportive journey where educators come together to empathize with their students. Hopefully, the experience and observations of shadowing lead to insights that fuel positive change. The concept is simple, but the results can … Read more

Shadow a Student Series – Camelot Elementary

Spring can be a particularly busy season for educators. As administrators, in particular, your days can quickly be filled with meetings, testing schedules, teacher observations, and so many other tasks. But the spring can also be a great time to evaluate and reflect on the practices that have shaped your school culture so far this year and still have plenty of time to make adjustments as needed so your students finish the school year strong. With that idea in mind, I recently issued the Shadow a Student Challenge to my administrators. It’s designed to be a fun, illuminating, and supportive journey where educators come together to empathize with their students. Hopefully, the experience and observations of shadowing lead to insights that fuel positive change. The concept is simple, but the … Read more

Lighting the Path to Success

There are a lot of great things about being a part of the Chesapeake Public Schools family, but one of the best is working with and recognizing outstanding educators. It was my privilege and honor to provide keynote remarks last week at my first Citywide Teacher of the Year Ceremony as superintendent. I’d also like to thank Mayor Rick West and School Board Chair Victoria Proffitt for joining me in addressing these incredible educators.       The theme for the event, “Lighting the Path to Success” was a fitting tribute to the 47 individual school honorees in attendance because each day, in each classroom, these teachers not only accept, but embrace, the enormous responsibility of lighting pathways to success for each of their students. It was evident, by the packed … Read more

Planning for Progress

This has been a busy month for us here at Chesapeake Public Schools. As the new year began, we set our sights on the creation of our new strategic plan, Empower 2025.  A team of representatives from across our division gathered to review the data collected from my Listening and Learning survey. The team used this input from our school community to identify our core values, vision, and mission. It all comes back to identifying our purpose—why we do what we do each day. From there, the team identified four strategic goals where we will focus our attention. The next part of this process is to assign the goals to action teams, made up of representatives from our school community. Each action team will identify the steps necessary to accomplish … Read more

For the Love of Learning

January has already proven to be a busy month for our division. It’s been so exciting to see how schools are celebrating Reading Month. I loved being invited as a guest reader to Great Bridge Intermediate, Deep Creek Elementary, Cedar Road Elementary, and Carver Intermediate. At Deep Creek, I enjoyed a little Mo Willems with the Baby Hornets and at Great Bridge Intermediate, I introduced the Math Curse to the fourth-grade Wildcats. I also want to thank Mayor Richard West, Mr. Michael Cuddyer, local reporters, school board members and many others who volunteered their time to share their love of reading with our students.           I’m also grateful to the many teachers and administrators who shared their love of teaching and learning with our Career Commitment candidates … Read more

Purposeful Reflections

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is almost over, but the end of each year presents the perfect opportunity for reflection. This year has been full of change and growth for me and my family, and as I reflect on the decision to move back home to Chesapeake to become your superintendent, I can’t help but be grateful for their love and support through the process. I’ve also had time to reflect on what coming back home to be a part of the Chesapeake Public Schools family again has meant to me. Before school started in August, I challenged our administrators to focus on their “why” and keep it at the forefront of the, often difficult, decisions they make every day. In issuing the challenge, I hoped to inspire educators … Read more

Giving Thanks

As we return from Thanksgiving break this week, I realize how much we have to be thankful for in our division. Personally, I’m thankful for the dedication of all of our staff members who work tirelessly every day to support the needs of our students. Whether it’s the bus driver that greets them early every morning, the nutrition services worker who provides them with healthy meals, or the teachers who focus on educating every child, each member of our CPS family plays an important part in nurturing the whole child. In particular this week, I’m thankful for the amazing community partnerships we have maintained throughout the years and for several new ones being established. Before Thanksgiving break, I was honored to attend the grand opening of Your Pie in Greenbrier. … Read more

Showing Off

October is probably one of the busiest months in a school calendar year. So busy, it’s been difficult to find the time to sit down and write about it all. We finally got into the swing of things after a few restarts due to Hurricanes Michael and Florence. I know it is tough on both teachers and students to miss days unexpectedly and still maintain the high expectations we have for all of our students, but as I’ve been visiting the schools, I am happy to report that they haven’t missed a beat. One of my most recent visits was to Thurgood Marshall Elementary where the students and staff were excited to welcome Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. Dr. Qarni was greeted by an impressive display of student leadership … Read more

Safety First

Safety has, and will always be, a top priority for our division–and we are not alone. Across the nation division leaders are conducting conversations about how to best keep our students, staff, and communities safe. This week I was honored to participate in the Town Hall Meeting, sponsored by The Safe Virginia Initiative (SVI), Senator Lionell Spruill, Sr., and Delegate Cliff Hayes, Jr. The focus of the meeting was to discuss ways to reduce violence and secure the safety of Virginians through legislative action. As I listened to the discussion that evening, I couldn’t help but reflect upon the awesome responsibility that falls upon our school principals and division leaders. When our doors open each day, thousands of students, teachers, and staff members walk the halls. Our building leaders must … Read more

Following Their Lead

  I was reminded of why I became an educator this week when I met with the Student Council Association (SCA) leaders from across our division.  What an inspiring group of student leaders they are! I am a big advocate for providing student leadership opportunities and encouraging our students to take the lead.  During our meeting, I had the opportunity to get their perspective on a number of issues facing our division. Being a student today is a very different experience than when I walked the halls of Great Bridge High School.   The internet has opened up an information superhighway that connects us with our counterparts across the world. As a result, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before–creating the challenge of where to focus our … Read more