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MILFORD—Charles Stevens wasn’t looking to leave his post as principal of Caroline High School, but when an opportunity arose in the Hanover County public education system, it was too good to pass up, he said in an interview.
“Taking the job in Hanover creates a good situation for my family,” said Stevens, who was principal during the 2012-2013 school year.
He will be principal at the Georgetown School, an alternative education school near Hanover High School. “A lot of students there are struggling academically, and our main focus is to help them rebuild confidence again,” he said.
Leaving CHS is “kind of bitter sweet,” he said. “It’s hard to walk away after a year.” But he and his wife of 22 years have two sons, one in college and one in high school. Working in Hanover, he’ll be closer to home and his family’s activities.
As Nancy Carson, chairwoman of the Caroline County School Board, said, “It’s hard for Caroline salaries to compete with Hanover and Spotsylvania.”
“I really enjoyed being at the high school and getting to know people in the community,” Stevens said. “It’s a great community of kids. I enjoyed working with the kids at the high school.
“We made a positive impact on the school culture,” he added. “Working together with teachers and the senior level administration, we really tried to enhance the school culture.” His focus was to “continually work on giving the high school a positive outlook.” He also “gave teachers and students more input on ways to work for improvement in the school.”
Stevens’ main focus was to “continuously improve student achievement, use best practices of research and get kids ready for college and ready for careers.” He noted that technical degrees are important and that CHS requires all rising freshmen to take a class in CHS Career and Technical Education, which years ago was known as vocational education.
As for a proposal by school officials and some Caroline business leaders to require students to wear uniforms, he said, “Some research out there supports uniforms. But really it’s a community decision. We worked heavily on a unified dress code—one that is fair and consistently enforced.” Several Lynchburg city schools switched over to uniforms, he noted.
School officials are proposing $25 million in upgrades to the high school and Madison Elementary School. Voters must OK a bond referendum that would give the county government permission to borrow the money.
“I think the bond referendum is very much needed,” Stevens said. “Both schools are in need of a major renovation. The maintenance staff and others have worked to maintain what we have and to keep it maintained as best as we can. The buildings need to be brought into the 21st century. As the population in Caroline continues to grow—if renovations are not done—the schools will be well over capacity.”