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Musical Chairs

Three principals switch positions and a search begins for a new principal at George Washington Middle School

The last week of school is traditionally an emotional time. Students say goodbye, teachers prepare their final report cards and administrators plan for the upcoming year. But the last week of school this year was different. Teachers and administrators were surprised by a series of personnel changes recommended by the superintendent and voted on in the outgoing School Board’s last executive session.

Hammond Middle School Principal Kristen Clark will move to the administration building to become executive director of elementary programs — a position vacated by Cathy David, who took a different position in the Beauregard Street office. Minnie Howard Ninth Grade Center Principal Randolph Mitchell will move to Hammond to take Clark's place. George Washington Middle School Principal Grace Taylor will move to Minnie Howard to take Mitchell’s place.

The only position that wasn’t filled by Perry’s changes is the principal of George Washington. The School Board is expected to find a new principal for the middle school before the start of school in September.

"I am very excited to return to my elementary roots," said Clark in a written statement after the announcement was made earlier this week.

Before joining Alexandria City Public Schools, Clark was a preschool director. She joined the division in 1985 to teach kindergarten and first grade at Cora Kelly Elementary School. From 1994 to 1996, Clark taught third grade at Mount Vernon Community School.

"I have taught at the preschool, elementary school and middle school levels," Clark said in the statement. "It gives me a unique perspective on the needs of children coming into the system, and the skills that elementary students will need to master to be successful in middle school."

Mitchell began his career in Alexandria as an assistant principal at Hammond in 1989. In 1993 — the year Minnie Howard School became the first school in Alexandria to serve only ninth-grade students — Mitchell became associate principal. He has served as principal of Minnie Howard for the past four years.

"I am eager to work with the Hammond staff and to fulfill the mission of Hammond for the students and the community," said Mitchell in a written statement.

Taylor is a 1987 graduate of T.C. Williams High School. She began her school administrative career in Atlanta as assistant principal for instruction at Lithonia High School. In 2003, Taylor moved back to Alexandria, where she became associate principal at T.C. Williams High School. For the past two years, she has been principal at George Washington.

"I am looking forward to the exciting challenges and celebrations ahead," said Taylor in a written statement.