DATE: May 26, 2017
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

Two Albemarle County Public Schools Principals and Ivy Creek’s Principal Appointed to New Senior Leadership Positions

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Albemarle County Public Schools today announced the appointment of three current school principals to new senior leadership positions.

Jay Thomas, who has served as the principal of Albemarle High School (AHS) since 2009, has been appointed as the school division’s Director of Secondary Education. He will be succeeded at AHS by Dr. Jesse Turner, who has been the principal of Monticello High School since 2012. Dr. Nicholas Smith, who is Ivy Creek’s principal, will be the team leader for the school division’s new Social, Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD) program. This program is part of the school division’s equity and access initiative, which will be piloted during the 2017-18 school year.

Thomas’ responsibilities will include the coordination of middle and high school curriculum, assessment, and instructional programs. He also will oversee extracurricular and athletic programs and provide leadership support for professional development programs, including instructional coaching teams.

Dr. Turner is a former assistant principal at Albemarle High School. He will be moving from a high school of nearly 1,100 students to the division’s largest school, with almost 2,000 students. Under Dr. Turner’s leadership, Monticello won the National School Boards Association’s prestigious Magna Award for program excellence, and the school increased its on-time graduation rate, reaching 100 percent for African-American students in recent years.

As part of the transition process, Dr. Turner is planning a series of meetings with parents, students and staff at AHS prior to the beginning of the new school year.

In her funding request message to the Albemarle County School Board in January, Superintendent Dr. Pamela Moran noted the continuing enrollment increase of at-risk students and described closing learning opportunity gaps in the county as among the highest priorities. That will be the goal of the SEAD team.

Under Dr. Smith’s direction, the SEAD team is charged with removing learning barriers that correlate with social or cultural factors; creating inclusive multicultural school environments for adults and children; and cultivating the unique gifts, talents and interests possessed by every student.

The program will be piloted during the new school year in the school division’s four urban ring elementary schools, Agnor-Hurt, Cale, Greer, and Woodbrook. The percentage of economically disadvantaged students at these four schools ranges from 42 to 75.

All of the changes announced today are effective with the start of the school division’s fiscal year on July 1.

“Jay has led our largest high school with the vision, instructional focus, and flexibility to meet every challenge and raise performance levels at the school. Expanding his contributions to all of our middle and high schools will be a significant asset for our faculty, staff and students as we continue our transition to our High School 2022 initiative,” said Dr. Matt Haas, Deputy Superintendent.

“We are fortunate to be able to turn to Dr. Turner to lead our largest school,” Dr. Haas continued. “Jesse’s interpersonal skills, his passion for the academic success of all students, and his enthusiasm for the role of educators in our community are unparalleled. I had the pleasure of working side-by-side with Jesse at AHS for several years. He knows the school community very well and will allow us to move forward at Albemarle High School without missing a beat,” he added.

Dr. Smith is in his second term as Ivy Creek’s principal. He led the school from 2000 to 2007 and again from 2010 until the present time.

Ivy Creek School (ICS) serves the needs of students from various regional school districts identified through the special education process as emotionally disabled and in need of a specialized, separate public day school placement. The school provides a safe and nurturing environment to help students develop positive and lasting relationships while working on improving academic performance.

“Nick’s expertise in empowering students to develop a sense of themselves as competent learners who are capable of interacting with others successfully at school, work, home, and in their communities, and his understanding of the various external issues that form learning barriers for at-risk students are tremendous advantages for our county,” Dr. Haas said. “His proven record of achievement will allow our SEAD team to begin to produce positive results for our community as soon as possible,” he added.

All three appointments fill previously budgeted positions.

Dr. Haas said that the search process for a new principal at Monticello High School will begin immediately. The division intends to bring a successful candidate before the School Board by the date of their first meeting in July, on July 8. As is the practice of the school division, this process will include opportunities for students, parents, staff, and community members to participate.

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