By Sarah Vogelsong
After a summer spent getting the county’s five school buildings back into grade-A shape, the schools are finally starting to fill up again with people—and the first wave to come in are the county’s new teachers, who began their orientation Monday and were formally welcomed to their new home at a luncheon at Caroline High School.
Caroline County Public Schools has hired about 75 new teachers for the 2014–2015 school year. A handful of these educators hail from outside Virginia, citing states such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, while others come from districts around the state or within the county itself.
School Board chairman George Spaulding delivered a speech welcoming the new hires to the school system.
“We’re excited about this year, and I hope you are,” he told a cafeteria full of teachers, administrators, and central office staff, as well as two other School Board members, Tinka Harris and Nancy Carson. “Any way that we can help you—we’re always backing you, and we do the best we can. We make mistakes, just like everyone else, but we’re teacher and school employee oriented, and we’re here to help you.”
Spaulding also told the new teachers that they would be periodically seeing School Board members in the schools.
“(We’re) not being nosy, just checking and seeing how the school is going,” he said. “The main thing is, we’re all in this together. … We have different roles in what we do, but we have one thing, one important thing to do, and that’s educate our students.”
Assistant superintendent Rebecca Broaddus introduced a number of people in the central office and then brought up the individual school principals to say a few words and greet their new hires.
Caroline High School principal Jeff Wick praised the working environment the new teachers are entering.
“I’m a Pennsylvania transplant from out of state,” said Wick. “I intended to stay here for one year and leave, and now (I’ve been) here for 16 years. The reason is it’s a great community to work in, it’s a great faculty to work with, and I think you’ll enjoy your time here.”
Caroline Middle School principal Angela Wright gave a brief speech outlining CMS’s core values of pride, personal responsibility, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence.
“At CMS, we are committed, motivated, and soaring with high standards, high expectations, and no excuses,” she said. While introducing her new hires, she noted that a number were entering the teaching profession after a career switch.
“We are so excited about the passion that you’re going to bring to our school system and to our schools,” she said.
The principals of Caroline’s three elementary schools also took the podium to greet their new teachers and administrators. This will be Madison Elementary School principal Scott Belako’s second full year as principal at MES after being named to his position in October 2012. The principals of Lewis and Clark Elementary and Bowling Green Elementary are both new this year. Cynthia Aref, the new principal at LCES, comes to Caroline from Stafford County, where she was assistant principal at an elementary school for eight years. She has also taught in Fairfax County and in Charles County, Maryland. L. Michelle Jones, the new principal at BGES, was previously principal and assistant principal at an elementary school in Dinwiddie County. She has also taught in Henrico County.
LCES also welcomes a new assistant principal this year, Terrie Haley, who was previously assistant principal at CMS.