Making a midyear switch from principal of Robinson Secondary School to Cluster VI director wasn't Ann Monday's ideal situation, but the window of opportunity opened, and there was a need, so Monday jumped. It was a natural progression for the 30-year veteran of the Fairfax County Public School system.
"It wasn't my preference. It would be the next higher step in Fairfax County hierarchy of leadership," Monday said.
At Robinson, Vice Principal Janet Colegrove has taken over until a permanent replacement is found through the regular channels. Employment with the school system follows a procedure, and a vice principal isn't necessarily the next one in line for a principal vacancy. School spokesperson Paul Regnier reinforced that.
"Janet Colegrove, who is acting principal, will stay on as acting over the process of selection for replacing Ann Monday," he said. "It's going to be a while before the official replacement."
Monday filled a vacancy left by Thomas "Mike" Engley, who retired last fall. Cluster VI includes Robinson, West Springfield, Lake Braddock pyramids and accompanying elementary schools, with which Monday is familiar. She is also confident in Colegrove.
"We have a very experienced vice principal, Janet Colegrove," she said.
School Board member Tessie Wilson of the Braddock District was accustomed to working with Monday.
"She is so upfront, honest and caring," Wilson said. "She is now the boss of people who had been her peers. Anne will do a good job of that transition."
ALTHOUGH THE CLUSTER director position is the next step up, Monday admits she misses the student contact. She took over at Cluster VI in early January.
"The energy of students, I already miss that tremendously in two weeks," she said.
After graduating from Falls Church High School in 1966 and earning her bachelor’s and master's degrees at George Mason University, Monday worked at several school system jobs in the county. Her experience includes teaching seventh grade at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna, followed by five years teaching English at Chantilly High School. In 1980, she took over as assistant principal at Marshall, Lake Braddock, Fairfax and Robinson before taking the helm as principal at Robinson in 1992.
"I've had a really great career in Fairfax County. Being at Robinson for 10 years is certainly a high point," Monday said, although she couldn't pin down one aspect of her career as a favorite.
Monday has witnessed many changes during her 30-year career, including a more diverse student population, growth in programs for students with special needs, an increased number of schools, and a fluctuating student/teacher ratio.
"I've seen that go up and down," she said.
THE STRENGTH of the schools in Cluster VI is one aspect of the new position that Monday likes. Maintaining that level of education is first on her mind.
"My position is to support the good work that's already going on," she said.
Even though the recent budget issues are on the minds of many educators, Monday thinks that the tight budget times of the early 1990s were tougher. Next year's budget will be similar to this year's, she said.
"Right now, we're in a holding pattern for budget changes next year," Monday said. "What will happen after that, we don't know."