Daria Groover wants the parents of children at Waynewood Elementary School to know that she's there for them.
"I want them to know that I'm a hard worker, I'm here to help them," she said.
Although she's only been at the school less than a week, she has already met with the teachers and PTA members. She likes what she sees and doesn't plan any major changes the first year.
"I want to take the first year as an opportunity to learn and then see if it's necessary to make changes. I want to come in and continue with the excellent reputation Waynewood has for a great teaching staff, wonderful children and very active community," said Groover.
Prior to this position, Groover worked in the Prince George’s County Public Schools, both as a teacher and assistant principal. Her last three years were spent at Belle View Elementary School as the assistant principal. She said that it was hard to leave Belle View, because she had developed a good relationship with the parents and teachers there. She is, however, hoping to build those same relationships at Waynewood.
"I'm really a people person; I respond quickly to phone calls and e-mails," she said. "My No. 1 strength is in human relations and communication skills, my ability to see the whole picture."
ONE OF THE things that she accomplished at Belle View was helping the PTA coordinate the Showcase Night and Curriculum Cook-Off. Designed to show parents what the students were learning to prepare for the SOLs, the Showcase offered a look at SOL-related material. While she isn't necessarily planning to introduce that same idea at Waynewood, she does believe in the importance of preparing students properly for the tests.
"The key to helping kids prepare [for SOLS] is to work through a variety of teaching strategies: virtual, hands-on, etc. You need to provide activities and different materials," said Groover, who credits Fairfax County with providing outstanding staff development.
Training will also be critical for her as she prepares to evolve from an assistant principal to principal.
One thing Groover will have to deal with when school opens is the new circular driveway, which should be in place when school opens in September. This plan met with considerable controversy during the year and will require some rethinking for parents and students alike. She said that she will do everything she can to make that a smooth transition.
Overall, Groover is looking forward to getting started and said, "We'll be ready for school when it opens. It's going to be a great year."