Although Jeanette Black started just a few weeks ago as principal, the walls of her new office in Vienna Elementary are already covered with pictures and knick-knacks. On one wall hang two pictures of Vienna buildings in the 1920s, which a parent gave to Black.
Parts of the building date back 130 years, said Black. She knows Vienna Elementary, having worked as an administration intern at the school for the 2001-02 year.
"As an administrator, I looked for schools I was interested in working at," said Black. "I interned here. I loved the school and loved the community."
Black is a native Northern Virginian who attended Washington and Lee High School in Arlington. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Texas Christian University, with a second master’s degree from George Mason University.
After she got married, she traveled around the country with her husband, Bruce, living in Texas, California, and Michigan. Both her daughters attended Fairfax County Public Schools, one living in California and the other attending the University of Virginia. Black’s husband is a pastor at the Fairfax Church of Christ.
Black started out working as a speech and language clinician. When she went back to work after staying home with her children, Black began teaching. She was a special education teacher at Lee’s Corner Elementary School in Fairfax, and after interning at Vienna, served as assistant principal at Lees Corner and at Glen Forest Elementary in Bailey’s Crossroads. She applied at Vienna Elementary after Linda Clark, the most recent principal, retired.
"Things are going great," said Black. "I’m excited and enthusiastic about the new school year."
"(Black) was fantastic with the children as well as the employees," said Judi Northrup, administrator at Glen Forest Elementary. "She was always caring, kind and very concerned that everything got done."
Black brings a special understanding of children to the job, said Northrup. "She had a knack for calming a child down and getting them to do what she asked, through talking and not getting upset with them," she said. "She has a very good rapport with children."
THE COMING YEAR will be a time of transition, said Black. Along with a new principal, Vienna Elementary will also be getting a new assistant principal, Melissa Tochterman, along with some new teaching staff.
"There is change and transition, but in the transition we’re going to build upon the success and foundation that’s been here," said Black.
Tochterman, whose parents own North American Office Furniture in the town, is familiar with the Vienna area and loves the community, said Black.
Tochterman said she grew up in Loudoun County, but her parents have worked in Vienna for about 30 years. She used to come to Vienna to see the parades as a child, and has taught at Marshall Road Elementary School.
"It’s like coming home," said Tochterman. "Vienna’s a wonderful town."
"We’re very excited to have her here," said Black of Tochterman.
"(Black) is a tremendous amount of fun, very dynamic and an extremely energized leader," said Susan Luxenberg, who works in the main office. "I’m sure she’s going to bring a lot of enthusiasm and creative ideas to the school."
"The kids (at Vienna Elementary) can expect that I’m going to care for them and work very hard to provide a happy, safe and strong academic environment," said Black.
And of course, she said, if they do well on their Standards of Learning tests this year, Vienna Elementary students can look forward to another Diffendoofer Day celebration.