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Charlottesville High School names new principal

In the closing months of a tumultuous school year, Charlottesville High School has named a new principal.

Justin Malone, who has been the principal at Jackson-Via Elementary School since 2017, will officially begin his new role at the high school in July. He served as assistant principal at CHS from 2013 to 2017.

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Malone back to CHS," Royal Gurley, superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools, said in a statement. "In a strong field of applicants, he stood out for his administrative and interpersonal skills, combined with his deep understanding of our community and commitment to academic excellence."

The high school’s top job became vacant last November, when Rashaad Pitt unexpectedly resigned from the position “in order to focus on his family and health.”

Pitt is one of several principals to have resigned from the school over the past decade. His tenure at the school, which lasted a little more than a year, was noted for a sharp rise disobedience, so extreme that certain students simply never attended class, and school violence, some of which was filmed against school policy and circulated online.

Things reached a breaking point shortly after Pitt’s departure. A week before Thanksgiving Day, a series of brawls broke out on school grounds. The fights were so bad the police were called to the school and teachers called out of work en masse the following day. The school district declared the two schooldays before Thanksgiving break teacher workdays as faculty and administrators worked to "reset" the culture at the school.

A veteran of the city school division, Kenny Leatherwood, was named interim principal later that month. Leatherwood promised to get the school back on track until a more permanent replacement could be found.

Things do appear to have gotten back on track, and Malone will be tasked with keeping it that way in the future.

“I am honored to return to Charlottesville High School,” Malone said in a statement. “I know what makes CHS such a special and thriving school and I am committed to sharing with our students, our staff, and our community what makes CHS a safe and successful place. My previous experience at CHS and all of my years working in Charlottesville City Schools have me prepared and excited to begin this important work.”

A University of Virginia graduate, Malone began his career as a special education teacher at Greene County Public Schools just north of the city. He later became an elementary and middle school assistant principal.

"CHS is a special community that has stayed in my heart since I came to work with the City Schools in 2013," Malone told The Daily Progress. "The staff are so committed and the students bring a wide range of experiences and talents. I am proud to be back at CHS and I am ready to get to work, reconnect, and move forward."


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