DATE: March 26, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Jason Lee, Current Albemarle High School Assistant Principal, Will Succeed Dr. Patrick McLaughlin as Western Albemarle High School’s New Principal
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Jason Lee, currently an assistant principal at the school division’s largest high school, Albemarle, has been appointed as the new principal at Western Albemarle High School, effective July 1. He will succeed Dr. Patrick McLaughlin, who is completing his term as the school’s interim principal. Dr. McLaughlin will be returning to his role as the school division’s Chief of Strategic Planning, also on July 1.
Lee formerly served as an assistant principal at Ivy Creek School and Fluvanna County High School as well. At Albemarle, his responsibilities included assisting with the development of the school’s crisis management plan; managing its budget and its student transportation network; and overseeing after-school activities, staff professional development, discipline, career and technical education, physical education, and fine arts instruction.
Throughout his career, Lee has had the opportunity to work with teachers across a range of disciplines and has built strong relationships with students and their parents. He also has been an advocate for two important areas of interest across the division—the expansion of its culturally responsive teaching strategies and practices and the current redesign of high school learning experiences.
“Both of these programs will deliver significant benefits to our high school students by elevating the quality of instruction and learning experience offerings,” said Dr. Clare Keiser, the school division’s Assistant Superintendent for Organizational Development and Human Resource Leadership. “Mr. Lee’s familiarity with and belief in these programs, matched with the breadth of his responsibilities at Albemarle, will make him a very successful principal for the Western community,” she added.v
Keiser said there was an immediate enthusiasm for Lee’s candidacy among the school and community members who served on an interview committee that was part of the search process. “Our community and school team members, which included staff, students and parents, were impressed with his outstanding interpersonal skills and with how well his strengths lined up with those that scored high in the Western community online survey,” she said.
“I’m truly humbled by this appointment and the opportunity to join the exceptionally talented faculty, administrative team, and staff in one of Virginia’s highest achieving learning communities,” Lee said. “I admire the enthusiasm of a student body that not only is so successful academically, but also has a strong sense of community service and support for other schools in its feeder pattern,” he added.
Lee said another asset he will bring to Western is the experience he has serving under the leadership of Albemarle’s principal, Darah Bonham. Bonham led Western Albemarle as its principal for four years before assuming his current post.
“I immediately was impressed with Mr. Lee, especially the care and attention he provides to our students. He is a responsive leader who listens to and takes input from all stakeholders. He will bring this quality to Western and it will be invaluable in moving his new school forward,” Bonham said.
In a message to the Western community this evening, Lee wrote, “This [appointment] truly is the pinnacle achievement of my nearly 20-year career … I have a deep level of admiration for the excellence that defines this school community. It is a privilege to have this opportunity to contribute to your future accomplishments.”
He added, “My passion for education and its primary role in ensuring the success of all students has shaped my service as a mentor, teacher, coach and administrator. In each role, I have sought to provide students with high-quality learning experiences and ensure equitable access across all programs … As your principal, I will be committed to developing lifelong partnerships with each of you.”
Lee’s career as an educator began as a special education teacher for Cumberland County Public Schools before joining Prince Edward County High School. He became an assistant high school principal for Fluvanna County in 2011, moving to Ivy Creek in 2017 and Albemarle High School a year later.
“The global perspective that Mr. Lee gained from serving four school division communities in our state was another asset that rated highly with the search committee,” Keiser said.
Lee is a graduate of Longwood University and received his Master’s in Administration and Supervision from Liberty University. His experience also includes coaching high school football and basketball and designing elementary and high school physical education and health classes, in which he integrated lessons in math and English.