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New Assistant Principals at Elementary Schools

Duty rosters and lunch schedules. These are some of the more mundane tasks executed by assistant principals. But the role of assistant principal is anything but mundane. I

The position requires its own selection committee. While it is not as rigorous a search as for the principal, it is still a lengthy process.

New assistant principals in the Cluster IV elementary schools are Tim Kasik, Washington Mill; Rich Pollio, Waynewood; Joan Carter, Stratford Landing; and Brandon Davis, Woodley Hills. West Potomac High School has also hired two new assistant principals.

The four elementary school administrators were hired over the summer, with Davis just starting this past week. Davis had some experience as an assistant principal, over a year at Glen Forest Elementary, but for the other three, this is their first assistant principal position.

DAVIS HAS TAUGHT in almost every elementary school grade; he was also a Title I math teacher teaching SUM (Step Up Math). He is still waiting to determine exactly what duties he will have, but knows that he will use his instructional background to go across grade levels. Davis said that he also has a strong literacy background which he hopes will help in the area of reading.

Davis said that he decided to go into administration because “I wanted to broaden my knowledge and touch students on a mass level — more than one class.”

He has two masters degrees — one in education and one in educational leadership; both are from George Mason University. Davis’ undergraduate degree is from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. — his home town.

Davis said that he spent the summers in this area and decided he liked it here. He currently lives in Burke and has two daughters — Reagan and Brandon.

“I want to learn the school procedures and help the school meet their AYP again,” Davis said. “I will keep us going where we’re going.”

He enjoys greeting the students as they get off the bus in the morning, and plans to be very visible in the school. Davis is very pleased with the teachers, staff and parents.

“Everybody has been very welcoming,” he said. “The kids smile and greet me; every aspect has been great so far.”

MOST OF RICH POLLIO’S experience has been teaching first grade, but it has been in various states and counties. The last three years, he was an ESOL teacher at Belle View Elementary School.

“I knew I wanted to go into administration,” Pollio said. “Being a teacher, I know what a difference the principal makes and decided to try it out.”

Like others in the county, he took the nine-course program offered locally by the University of Virginia to earn an endorsement in school administration, a Fairfax County requirement for administrative positions.

While Pollio is still learning about Waynewood, he feels that he was a step ahead having already worked with the principal, Daria Groover, at Belle View.

“I knew Daria from Belle View and was very excited at the possibility of working with her,” Pollio said. “The good thing about knowing Daria, since we already had a working relationship, we were able to hit the ground running.”

Pollio said that he’s already sharing a lot of her responsibilities; and Groover’s teaching him a lot of things, like working with parents.

“Everything is new, but nothing I didn’t expect. I’m a quick learner,” Pollio said. “The people in the office are wonderful and all the teachers are very skilled.”

AT WASHINGTON MILL, Kasik is already focusing on testing, discipline and general education curriculum. Working with Tish Howard, principal, he plans to help continue to move the school toward greatness. His new office is in the new 10-classroom modular constructed this summer.

Joan Carter will also serve as the testing coordinator for her new school, Stratford Landing, where she became the assistant principal just a few weeks ago. Like Pollio, she also received her endorsement in school administration from UVA.

“I knew early on that I wanted to be an administrator,” said Carter, who was already serving as a mentor to other teachers two months after she first started teaching. “I thought if I could impact 26 kids, think what I could do school-wide and district-wide.”

Most of Carter’s 13 years in education was spent teaching in Fairfax County elementary schools, although she did spend some time as the technical coordinator for the Arlington County Public Schools. She was most recently at Rose Hill Elementary, which is where she started her teaching career.

“I wanted to get back to Fairfax County to become an administrator,” Carter said.

In addition to serving as testing coordinator, Carter will use her technical background to help with the school’s growing computer network.

“I’d like to enhance what’s already in place,” she said.

Carter will also work to strengthen the Professional Learning Community, a concept of collaborative planning and collective responsibility which is already in place at Stratford Landing.

“I absolutely love the school — it has a wonderful reputation. I moved into my job so easily which says a lot for the parents, staff and students. There are so many wonderful things going on here.”

Carter plans to try to get out to the classrooms daily so that the students and teachers get to know her. She’s already attended her first PTA meeting, where she was thrilled to see so many people, and is looking forward to Back to School Night, which will be held this evening.