DATE: July 12, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Cale’s New Principal, Also a Former Cale Parent, Brings Strong Multicultural Credentials to One of the Division’s Most Diverse, Advanced Bilingual Schools
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The leader of the school division’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Program and a highly experienced coach who has worked with administrators and teachers across the division to promote their professional development has been appointed by the School Board to be the next principal of Cale Elementary School.
Cyndi Wells succeeds Lisa Jones, who earlier this month joined the division’s Center for Learning and Growth as the Student Services Officer. Her appointment is effective Monday.
Wells joined Albemarle County Public Schools in 2006 as the coordinator for support services and professional development provided to students and teachers in Title I schools, which included Cale. In 2009, she was appointed as a lead coach in the division, overseeing the professional development of teachers in the school division’s ESOL and World Languages Programs, preschool, and fine arts.
Her appointment followed a survey of Cale’s staff and parent communities that called for the next principal to have a deep understanding of bilingual education, instructional leadership, and community building skills.
“Her extensive experience as an educational leader makes her an ideal fit for Cale,” said Debora Collins, the school division’s Deputy Superintendent. “Her knowledge of the structural foundations that enrich learning for young children, both in aligning curriculum to student needs and helping teachers to fulfill their highest potential, will be immediate assets for Cale,” she said.
Much of Wells’ career in the school division has been devoted to building collaborative communities. She is a forceful advocate of multicultural education, having been one of the early administrators in Albemarle to earn her Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) certification. In her ESOL leadership role and as Title I Coordinator for the division, she worked with families from diverse life experiences to support the success of their children in school.
“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to serve the Cale community full-time,” said Wells. “I long have admired their accomplishments—Cale was first school to offer FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School) and still is the only school to offer a Dual Language Program. Their faculty has embraced Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) as a way of life. Their special event nights for families bring out hundreds of people to celebrate the many gifts that come from a diverse community. The commitment of the entire school to classroom innovation provides so many different paths to literacy and discovery for children,” she said.
One of Wells’ first orders of business was the promotion of Benjamin Allen from assistant to associate principal of Cale. Allen joined Cale in 2016 and last year was recognized as the Culturally Responsive Educator of the Year for Albemarle County Public Schools.
Also joining Wells’ leadership team is Rosaura González-Muñiz as assistant principal. González-Muñiz is a former instructional coach at Cale, and beginning in 2014, was an assistant principal at Stone-Robinson.
Wells began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in San Antonio, Texas, and was an elementary summer school principal. She also was a member of the clinical faculty at Trinity University, where she supervised student teachers. She later directed Professional Development for the Core Knowledge Foundation. She joined Albemarle County Public Schools in 2006 as a Title I Coordinator and became a lead coach in 2009.
She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Trinity University in San Antonio. She holds two Master of Arts degrees, in Teaching and in Administration and Supervision.
“I have been a proud member of the Cale community since my daughter entered kindergarten here in 2003,” Wells said. “I’m looking forward to leveraging the rich diversity of the school’s languages, backgrounds and experiences. I know every child has the potential to achieve at high levels. Every teacher has a contribution to make to that outcome. Every member of our support staff, in the way they assist and interact with students, can make every day we are together more impactful and joyful,” she said.