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Western’s Darah Bonham Is Named New Principal of Albemarle High School, Effective July 1

DATE: June 14, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

Western’s Darah Bonham Is Named New Principal of Albemarle High School, Effective July 1

Darah Bonham Darah Bonham

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The Albemarle County School Board has appointed Darah Bonham, currently the principal of Western Albemarle High School, as the next principal of Albemarle High School, effective July 1.

Bonham has served as the principal of Western since 2015. Under his leadership, students at the school have achieved an on-time graduation rate exceeding 98 percent, and three out of four Western students graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma. The national education assessment organization Niche has placed Western in the top four percent of all high schools across the nation. It also has ranked the school as the best in Virginia for the competitiveness and quality of its athletic program. Both boys and girls tennis teams recently captured state championships, as did both the boys and girls soccer programs.

“Darah’s strengths, as evidenced by Western’s performance over the past four years, are his instructional focus and expertise; his ability to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with faculty, students and parents; and his enthusiasm for teamwork,” said Dr. Clare Keiser, the school division’s Assistant Superintendent for Organizational Development and Human Resource Leadership.

Bonham will be moving from a school with a faculty of just over 100 and a student body of approximately 1,150 students to Albemarle, which has 188 classroom teachers and an enrollment of nearly 1,900 students.

“I long have admired Albemarle High School for a legacy built on excellent teachers, a rich tradition, a supportive parent community, and of course, extraordinary students,” Bonham said. “I look forward to working with our faculty, staff, students, parents, and community partners on the innovation they will bring to our classrooms, the partnerships we will strengthen, and the enthusiasm and support we will provide one another and will define what happens in our school every day,” he added.

Dr. Keiser said that the search process for a new Western principal will begin immediately and that it will provide opportunities for the school’s community to offer their ideas about the qualities they most value in their new leader.

With his appointment to Albemarle, Bonham will have administrative experience in four of the five schools with programs that serve high school students in Albemarle County. He joined the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) in 2005 as an assistant principal and he became the center’s director a year later. In 2012, he moved to Monticello High School as an assistant principal before joining Western as principal in 2015.

Keiser noted that in each of his leadership roles, Bonham has made significant contributions to the students he served. At CATEC, he worked with the business community to expand career opportunities for graduates; at Monticello, he oversaw a nationally-award winning technology development and operational program; and at Western, students attained one of the highest on-time graduation rates in the country.

A James Madison University undergrad, Bonham earned his Master’s in Education at George Mason University for educational leadership. He began his career in education with Fairfax County Public Schools as a technology instructor and a director.

Bonham succeeds Dr. Jesse Turner, who is leaving Albemarle High School on July 1 to become the principal of Charlottesville City’s Buford Middle School.


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