When Virginia "Ginger" Minshew applied for a new job as a Loudoun County school principal last year, she could have increased her odds by submitting applications to several schools. However, she sent her resume to only one.
Minshew wanted to oversee Park View High School. Last Friday, she began her journey, which will mark a beginning and end to her career in education. She said she plans to spend at least eight years at Park View before retiring. The 2005-2006 school year marks her 25th anniversary in education. "Isn't it a great way to start off celebrating an anniversary?" she asked, flashing a smile. "I think it's great."
School Board member J. Warren Geurin (Sterling) presented her with flowers and a license plate frame with the school's name on it. "She could have chosen to apply for principal positions at three other high schools, but she chose to wait and apply only for the Park View position," he said. "That simple act shows a level of personal commitment to our community and to the students."
MINSHEW, replacing Anne Brooks who retired, said her goal is to create an outstanding learning environment for students and teachers and to make the school a welcoming point for all community members. "People who don't have kids need to be involved in the school too," she said. "I love parent involvement. None of us can do this alone. This really does take all of us."
She said Park View has a lot going for it and she plans to build on the current programs and activities. One objective will be to strengthen academics to ensure students pass the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. The school is one of four Loudoun County secondary schools that failed last year to pass the Average Yearly Progress, as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
No Child Left Behind provides a snapshot of student achievement by separating the Standards of Learning test scores by ethnicity, limited English proficiency, low income, and special education. Minshew said she plans to focus on the weaknesses and use remediation, after-school assistance and flex study hall to strengthen student skills. "After school is not an option for some," she added.
Minshew was principal of Farmwell Elementary School for seven years, assistant principal at Potomac Falls High School for one year and assistant principal at Broad Run High School for nine years. She also taught special education in Fairfax County. She has piloted an instructional strategy called "Precision Teaching" to improve student performance in mathematics.