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New principals named for Monticello High and Lakeside Middle

After six school years leading Henley Middle School, Beth Costa will be the next principal at Monticello High School.

The School Board voted Thursday to approve Costa’s appointment as well as to hire Michael Craddock as the next principal of Lakeside Middle School. Craddock is currently the director of Center 1, a specialty learning center for high school centers in Albemarle County.

Both will start their new positions July 1, and searches are underway for their replacements, according to a division news release.

Costa worked at Monticello from 2012 to 2015 as an assistant principal. She’s taking over for Rick Vrhovac, who is retiring this year.

“Among a very strong group of academic leaders, Beth Costa’s ability to recruit and develop outstanding educators, her insight and analytical skills in instructional practices that promote our highest aspirations for students, and her focus on establishing safe and collaborative learning environments will especially be invaluable in leading Monticello forward,” said Dr. Clare Keiser, the division’s assistant superintendent for organizational development and human resource leadership, in a news release.

In the release, Costa said she plans to seek counsel, new ideas and suggestions from staff, students and families as she designs the school’s improvement plan for the coming school year.

“I am enormously grateful for the contributions of our teachers at Henley, our world-class staff, and, of course, our students and parents, all of whom have been so focused on and enthusiastic about continuous improvement,” Costa said in the release. “Monticello provides an opportunity to build on these foundational strengths to serve an even broader school community at a time when the high school experience in our division will be offering students many more choices for their college and career development.”

Albemarle County is currently working on a wide-ranging plan that redesigns high school experience with a focus on expanding career learning communities — a revamped version of the current academies.

Center I is a key part of those plans. Craddock became the first director of Center I in 2019 and has worked to boost enrollment and chart a path forward for the center model.

Building on Craddock’s experience, the division is planning to construct a standalone high school center that will serve students throughout the county. That building should open later this decade, according to the release.

When Craddock took over Center I, 21 students were enrolled. Now, more than 200 students are expected to take classes at the center next school year. He’s also added dual enrollment and dual credit classes through a partnership with Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Before Center I, Craddock was an assistant principal at the Community Lab School and helped to redesign the middle school experience there.

“What really stands out about Mr. Craddock’s leadership credentials are his strong instructional background and the quality and effectiveness of his connections to students and families,” Keiser said. “He has been responsible for very impressive results, whether in expanding Center I, as a contributor to the redesign of our charter school as its assistant principal, or in the success he brought to our career and technical education programming.”

At Lakeside, he’ll be taking over for Megan Wood who has been the principal of the school since 2018. Wood was named the division’s director of professional learning.

“It will be a privilege for me to join our Lakeside school community,” Craddock said in the release. “I am an enthusiastic supporter of their mission statement, which emphasizes that striving for creative excellence every day is what best prepares students to succeed in a challenging and constantly changing world.”


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