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New principals named for two Albemarle schools

The Albemarle County School Board has appointed two new administrators to principal posts at Henley Middle and Hollymead Elementary schools, the division announced Friday.

The new principals will begin their transitions immediately and relocate to their new schools by the middle of August, according to the news release. Friday’s announcement leaves only two principal positions vacant for the next school year. The division is still looking for top administrators at Center 1 and Crozet Elementary.

At Henley, a Chesterfield County administrator will serve as principal and succeed Beth Costa, who left Henley to become principal of Monticello High School.

LaRuth Ensley has been the assistant principal of Falling Creek Middle School in Chesterfield County for the last three years. She also has experience working in Richmond Public Schools and on the faculty of several community colleges and online universities, according to the division news release.

“Albemarle County has great appeal for any educator who is focused on consistent, measurable, and broad-based student learning,” Ensley said in a statement. “I am very impressed with the division’s priorities as outlined in its strategic plan.”

Falling Creek Middle School has about 500 more students than Henley, which is the county’s largest middle school. The division noted in its release that Ensley has a background in strategic planning, community outreach and professional development with staff.

“The breadth of Ms. Ensley’s instructional expertise and innovation, both at the secondary and post-high school levels, will be a significant asset for Henley students in preparing for their future academic and career goals,” said Clare Keiser, the division’s assistant superintendent for Organizational Development and Human Resource Leadership, in the release. “Her exceptional interpersonal skills and her passion for collaboration are a perfect fit with a learning community that cares so deeply about the academic and social and emotional development of each and every child.”

At Hollymead, an Illinois elementary school principal will take the reins from Craig Dommer, who has been appointed as the school division’s Director of Instructional/Tiered Services.

Joe McCauley has been the principal of Ogden Avenue School in La Grange, Illinois since 2017. La Grange is a suburb of Chicago. McCauley began his career as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools and worked for nine years as a special education teacher.

The division release noted that McCauley has led the implementation of increased rigor in the curriculum at Ogden Avenue, prioritized equity-based practices and worked with parents and teachers to expand classroom technology resources.

“Our entire team was highly impressed with Mr. McCauley’s commitment to always putting students first, the value he places on closely working with teachers and staff, his communication skills, and his systemic approach that always comes back to learning improvement in the way he leads a school,” Keiser said in the release.

McCauley said in a statement that he was excited to join the division.

“The district’s vision for student learning and schoolwide systems makes this a fantastic opportunity for a school leader,” he said. “Hollymead has a caring and active community of parents, and its staff clearly is committed to and passionate about teaching and learning. I’m eager to work with everyone and support their continued great work with students.”


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