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Potowmack Principal to Start New School

Potowmack Elementary PTA president Heather Cox said that, although starting the new Steuart Weller Elementary represents "a fantastic opportunity" for Potowmack Principal Janet Radcliffe, her current school would be sad to see her go. "She’s definitely left her fingerprints on Potowmack Elementary," said Cox.

Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde Byard said Radcliffe had been chosen to open the new Ashburn school by a panel consisting of central office staff, a teacher and a parent. She has been Potowmack’s principal since January of 2001, when the school’s last principal left to start another school.

Byard said another panel would convene, likely in December, to select a principal to take over Potowmack when Radcliffe leaves in mid-January. From then until December, he said, she will be busy meeting parents, ordering school supplies and, especially, interviewing and selecting Steuart Weller’s first staff. "It’ll be a very intense time for her," he said.

Cox called Radcliffe "an outstanding principal" and said she would bring enthusiasm and diligence to the new school, which will open in September. She said that Radcliffe spent "a lot of effort and energy" selecting staff and "will do anything she can to support them." She also said the principal was receptive and responsive to parents, with an open-door policy.

"The other thing that’s just fantastic about her is that she knows the names of all the kids," said Cox. "She was able to establish relationships with all those kids."

Radcliffe said she would be willing to speak to the press after she finished her work at Potowmack.

— Mike DiCicco