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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Superintendent's Report to the School Board
March 15, 2011

Chairman Edwards, Vice Chairman Brunke, and members of the Board and the viewing public –

This evening, I want to update the Board and our school community on the progress of our new Center for Teacher Leadership.  As we have shared in the past, an important component of Compass to 2015 is professional development for teachers.  Clearly, we need to provide support to our teachers as they work to engage children in higher order learning.

I am pleased to report that we have selected nine teacher leaders who will ultimately develop training for teachers by teachers. I will say it was difficult to just select nine teachers as the caliber of teachers interviewed was exceptional. The interviewing process was rigorous. Candidates were first interviewed by a panel comprising principals and staff from the Department of Technology, Curriculum and Instruction, and Educational Leadership and Assessment. I personally participated in the next round of interviews as did several members of my Cabinet. We wanted to make it clear – professional development in the school system needs to change and we need the teacher hand to make it as meaningful and relevant as possible. The new teacher leaders will complete this school year in the classroom; however, they will meet this month to begin initial planning for next year. They will be tasked with creating and implementing innovative, job-embedded professional development that supports the tenets of Compass to 2015. I’m looking forward to sharing their progress with you in future reports to the Board.   

Moving on now, the Department of Human Resources recently hosted its annual Employee Service Recognition Program to honor 326 employees who were celebrating 25, 30, 40, and 45 years with the division.”  Special recognition was reserved for seven employees who have served VBCPS for 40 years and the one employee, Linda Paul, a special education teacher, who has served an incredible 45 years!


Seventy-four AVID students from Great Neck Middle School opened the show for the Harlem Globetrotters during their recent visit to town. The students served as Color Guards during the National Anthem. Earlier in the week one of the Harlem Globetrotter visited Great Neck where he reminded students, "You can do whatever you want, but be prepared to work hard for it."

Speaking of working hard…many schools have been on the forefront of community service projects that I would like to share with you this evening. 

  • Over 200 middle and high school students participated in the first “Cool Schools Challenge Polar Plunge” at the oceanfront, helping raise more than $12,000 to benefit the Special Olympics of Virginia.  Plaza Middle School took first place - raising over $3,000. To top things off, 100 Plaza MYP students took the plunge into the 38 degree water. Congratulations also go out to Green Run and First Colonial High Schools for supporting the event as well.
  • Larkspur Middle School recently hosted a Family 5K Fun Run/ Walk. Nearly 200 students, faculty and family members participated. The event benefited H20 for Life, a clean water initiative in Africa. In addition to the fun run, Larkspur has sponsored several other fundraising projects to support this cause.
  • Can a penny really bring peace?  Students at Kellam High School hope so. They just completed the Pennies for Peace campaign which provides necessary supplies to educate children living in countries impacted by terrorism. The 100,000 pennies that Kellam High School collected will make a tremendous difference in remote areas of the world where 15 pennies can buy a notebook and $50,000 can support a school for up to five years.
  • Princess Anne Elementary School hosted its tenth Annual PTA Founder's Day Dinner and raised over $10,000 to be used for scholarships. To date, the PTA has generously given over $100,000 to seniors who once attended the school and are planning to go to college.

 One hundred fifty two of our students gathered for the 4th Annual Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow Symposium on March 11. They had the opportunity to question a distinguished group of panelists on all aspects of education.  One student said the event quote - “solidified my decision to become a teacher.”

Several Virginia Beach schools participated in the 26th Annual Great Computer Challenge at O-D-U on March 5. Middle and high school students demonstrated their problem solving abilities and applied their skills to compete in 12 computer-related categories. Congratulations to Great Neck and Corporate Landing middle schools and Kemps Landing Magnet School for taking first place in the Desktop Presentations, Integrated Applications, and Music Composition categories. I would also like to salute the Advanced Technology Center for their five first place wins and Landstown High School for placing second in three categories. You represented Virginia Beach well!

While on the subject of computers, another 30 families have received free computers and flash drives through the school division’s VA STAR program. Students from the A-T-C reconfigure the computers donated through VA STAR and loaded them with free software. The students also familiarized families with their new computers. It’s a win-win situation. Participating students gained computer and workforce readiness skills and families now have access to technology that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

The following congratulations are in order this evening…
Congratulations to the Office of Food Services. The VBCPS breakfast program qualified for nearly $189,000 in funding from the state’s Breakfast Incentive initiative. That’s the second largest incentive awarded across Virginia. The money will be used to help maintain current breakfast and lunch princes for the upcoming school year.”

Cox High School Physical Education teacher and veteran gymnastics coach, Melody Hartranft was recently recognized in The Virginian Pilot’s “Coach’s Corner” for her outstanding 258-26 record. She is the second “most winning” coach in state gymnastics history. She has spent 28 her 30-year coaching career leading Cox to ten Beach District and six Eastern Region titles, as well as six second place State finishes. Way to go, Coach Hartranft!

Dr. Kelly Hedrick is the recipient of the Outstanding Leader for Program Development and Support for Gifted Learners award from William and Mary’s Center for Gifted Education.  She was selected for this honor because she “demonstrated dedicated, reliable, and exceptional performance as a teacher, administrator, scholar, and leader in the field of gifted education.”  The selection committee also commended Hedrick for consistently collaborating with teachers and staff to nurture their leadership capacity.

And finally, I recently had the pleasure of presenting the Superintendent’s Spotlight Awards to nine recipients during surprise visits to their worksites. These individuals were nominated by their peers for their exemplary contributions to the division and for going above and beyond in all aspects of their job duties.  Please join me in congratulating the following recipients:

  • Tara Brewer - Assistant Principal Kempsville Meadows Elementary
  • Sharon Dick - Cafeteria Manager, Windsor Oaks Elementary
  • Tom Kern - Computer Resource Specialist Kingston Elementary
  • Gary Koelling - Coordinator, Supply Services
  • Lisa Masisak - Student Activities, Coordinator Kempsville Middle
  • Kathy Maurer - Nurse, Ocean Lakes High School
  • Tina Mazzacane - Instructional Specialist, Secondary Math Curriculum & Instruction
  • Karen Riddick - Special Education Teacher Assistant Lynnhaven Elementary
  • Debbie Shelar - Office Associate Curriculum & Instruction

Mr. Chairman and members of the School Board, this concludes my remarks for this evening.

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017