DATE: February 25, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Sutherland Community Advisory Committee Appointed; Organizational Meeting Scheduled for Monday
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The first meeting of the Sutherland Community Advisory Committee will be this Monday evening, March 2. A total of 13 school and community members have been selected to serve on the committee, which will review the name of the school consistent with a School Board directive and the school division’s updated facility naming policy.
Sutherland Middle School is the second school in the division to have its name reviewed following the School Board’s decision to have Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas evaluate all schools named for individuals. Of the division’s 25 schools, 14 are named for individuals.
Earlier this year, based on recommendations from a community advisory committee and the superintendent, the School Board voted to change the name of Cale Elementary School to Mountain View Elementary School, effective July 1. Mountain View was the overwhelming choice of the Cale school community for a new name.
At its organizational meeting this Monday evening, the committee will review and approve a community survey that will be sent to families in the school’s attendance zone to solicit their preferences for the name of their school. The committee also will decide on the dates of two public meetings. The first of those meetings will ask the community to offer their views of all of the names that are proposed in the community survey. The committee will narrow the list of names to 10 semi-finalists and a second public meeting will seek comment on those names.
Members of the community and the committee can either recommend that a new name be chosen for the school or that its current name be retained.
Members of the Sutherland advisory committee were chosen from among those who expressed interest in serving on the committee. Two committee members, Megan Wood and Jasmine Fernández, hold required positions. Wood is Sutherland’s principal and Fernández will provide support to the committee and its deliberations as the committee leader.
Three committee members are from the Sutherland faculty: Monica Cabarcas, Cabell Guy, and Megan Jackson. Three are parents of Sutherland students: Amanda Davis, Chrishawana Hunter, and Brian Johns. Two live in the school community, but do not have students attending Sutherland: Pamela Lockhart and Andrew Thomas. There are also three parents of children who attend elementary schools that feed into Sutherland: Nicole Ganoe, Kimberly Maupin, and Marion Wood.
Additionally, the committee will include a student representative, who not only will provide perspective, but will work closely with a student committee that will be established at Sutherland. The student committee will be responsible for designing activities that will keep students informed of the advisory committee’s progress and elicit name suggestions.
“We are so fortunate to have on this committee such highly dedicated volunteers who care so deeply about their school community,” said Fernández. “To reflect the diversity of our school division and to promote equity of voice and thought, our committee is comprised of several members who represent our Black and Latinx population,” she said.
The school division has created a School Naming Review web page that provides current information on its school name reviews and updates on its progress in meeting the School Board’s direction. The page can be accessed at https://www.k12albemarle.org/acps/division/school-naming-review/Pages/default.aspx. Throughout the Sutherland process, community members with questions or suggestions can email the advisory committee at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org.
Mortimer Sutherland was a teacher and later principal in the school division, retiring in 1946. Between 1954 and 1962, he served on the Albemarle County School Board and then the Board of Supervisors. The middle school bearing his name was built in 1994.
In the event the advisory committee selects the current school name as one of its three finalists, the policy requires the committee to examine if Mortimer Sutherland made contributions to the community or of state, national, or world-wide significance. It also requires committee members to determine if his personal and professional conduct exemplifies the School Board’s current values of excellence, young people, community, and respect.
The committee’s final recommendation on a school name will be provided to the superintendent, who will, in turn, make a recommendation to the School Board.