administration picture of Grassfield HS. Dr. Sapieka, Mr. Fulford, Mr. Perez, Mrs. Collins, Mr. Freeman



Perez19thumb head shot

Principal Mike Perez

Mr. Mike Perez is proud to be the principal of Grassfield High School. Now in his 30th year as an educator with Chesapeake Public Schools, Mr. Perez was a teacher for seven years (1993-2000), served as Assistant Principal at Hickory Middle School for three years (2000-2003), Assistant Principal at Western Branch High School for five years (2003-2008), Principal of Hugo Owens Middle School for five years (2008-2013) and is now in his tenth year as a Grizzly (2013-present).

Mr. Perez was an Honor Graduate at Great Bridge High school in 1987, received a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University in 1993, and a Master of Science in Education Administration in 1999, also from Old Dominion University. He recently earned a credential as a Level 1 Antiracist Educator from Virginia Commonwealth University. As a lifelong learner, Mr. Perez is currently continuing his education as a doctoral candidate at Regent University.

Mr. Perez is the proud parent of two Grassfield Grizzly graduates from the classes of 2018 and 2021. He has served the community by participating on the Board of Advisors of the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Foundation, is Past President of the Deep Creek Ruritan Club, Treasurer for the Southeastern District,  Chairman of the VHSL 6A Region. He is also an avid performing and recording musician. Mr. Perez can be found roaming the halls of Grassfield High School proudly ending every statement with, “And as always, Go Grizzlies!”

john close the new api gfhs

Assistant Principal for Instruction, Mr. John Close

Mr. John Close is a proud native of Chesapeake, a 1995 graduate of Oscar Smith High School, and is extremely honored to be returning to Grassfield High School as the Assistant Principal for Instruction.  He has previously served as an assistant principal at Western Branch High School for nine years. Prior to moving into school administration, he was an English teacher here at Grassfield for six years and at Great Bridge Middle School for six years prior to the opening of Grassfield High in 2007.  Mr. Close earned his Bachelors of Arts in English from Bluefield College, a Masters of Arts in English Literature from Old Dominion University, a Masters of Divinity from Columbia International University, and a Masters of Education in School Administration from Regent University.  He is currently enrolled in a doctoral program from Regent University.  Mr. Close continues to reside in Chesapeake with his wife, Christina, and their two daughters.  
In his role as Assistant Principal of Instruction, Mr. Close coordinates and monitors the academic programs and plans for school improvement.  Mr. Close recognizes that the tradition of excellence at Grassfield High is built on an environment where students and staff are rigorously challenged, where service to one another is universally modeled, and where leadership opportunities are continually fostered.  His goal is to support all students and staff, of all abilities and backgrounds, as they pursue their highest potential. 

Fulford19thumb head shot

12th Grade Assistant Principal, Mr. Matt Fulford

Mr. Fulford is a 2000 graduate of Great Bridge High School. After graduating from Great Bridge High School, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Christopher Newport University, a Master of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Old Dominion University.

Mr. Fulford is entering his 19th year as an educator with Chesapeake Public Schools. He began his teaching career at Great Bridge High School where he served as a Mathematics teacher for 8 years. This is Mr. Fulford’s 11th year serving as an assistant principal at Grassfield High School.

Mr. Fulford resides in Chesapeake with his wife, Meredith, three children, Caleb (Chesapeake Public School Graduate – GBHS Class of 2021), Taylor, and Ruby, and dog Laney.

kellie collins picture

11th Grade Assistant Principal, Mrs. Kellie Collins

Mrs. Collins is excited to return to Grassfield for her second year as assistant principal as she begins her 8th year with Chesapeake Public Schools and 14th year as an educator. She began her career in public education as an Earth Science teacher at Maury High School in Norfolk, VA for 6 years. Mrs. Collins was recognized as Hickory High School’s Teacher of the Year in 2017, where she taught Earth and Space Science for 6 years

She was born on Chincoteague Island and moved to Norfolk to pursue her Bachelor’s in Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Science from Old Dominion University. She became a lifelong monarch earning both her Ms. Ed in Secondary Science Curriculum and Ed.S in Educational Leadership. 

Mrs. Collins resides in Chesapeake with her husband, Chris, two miniature labradoodles-Maggie Gyllenpaw and Apple, Chameleon-Lela Lava, and Leopard Gecko-Mango LaCroix. She is looking forward to an awesome year-Go Grizzlies!

Sylvester Freeman headshot 19

10th Grade Assistant Principal, Mr. Sylvester Freeman

Mr. Sylvester Freeman is a 1984 graduate of Indian River High School. After graduating from Indian River High School, he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics from Saint Paul’s College and holds a Master’s of Arts in Mathematics and an endorsement in Administration and Supervision Pre-K-12 from Norfolk State University. He is an honorably discharged commissioned officer of the United States Army. Mr. Freeman is entering his 31st year as an educator, 6 years with SECEP, 14 years at Indian River High School as a math teacher, and 11 years at Grassfield High. Mr. Freeman lives in Chesapeake with his wife, Sundai, and is the proud father of two children, SaReena and Sylvester. His children are graduates of Chesapeake Public Schools.

Mr. Freeman competes in the 100% Raw World Power Lifting Federation where he has won the world bench championship 2003-2010, 2014, and 2015. Mr. Freeman’s other hobbies include table tennis, singing, and personal training. Mr. Freeman is proud to be a part of the Grassfield family and is looking forward to a great year.

Helen Sapieka head shot

9th Grade Assistant Principal, Dr. Helen Sapieka

Dr. Sapieka is honored to serve the Grassfield community as the 9th grade assistant principal, where she is passionate about ensuring a successful transition for rising 9th graders from their respective middle schools. She deeply believes the “Grizzly Way” leads students to exceed their potential, fulfill their purpose, and challenge the precedent.

Prior to becoming a Grizzly, Dr. Sapieka served two years as an assistant principal of Crestwood Middle School and two years as the behavior coach at Oscar Smith Middle School. Dr. Sapieka relocated from the midwest after eight years in public education.

She earned her Doctorate and Educational Specialist degrees in educational leadership from Liberty University. She also received her Masters of Science in Administration and Supervision with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Secondary Education from Carthage College. 

When she is not working, Dr. Sapieka is adventuring with her golden retriever, Griffin. She was a competitive swimmer and track & field athlete, and is excited to cheer on her Grizzlies in all sports and activities!