National Assistant Principals Week — Becky Fisher, HMS

If there’s anything Henley Middle School Assistant Principal Becky Fisher knows, it’s the Crozet community.

The self-proclaimed “first generation Crozetian” grew up right where many of the kids she works with do and went to a lot of the same schools as them — including Henley. In fact, she wasn’t the first in her family to work with Albemarle County Public Schools.

“One of the kids’ favorite stories is that my mom worked here as a cafeteria worker while I was a student,” she said. She uses this story to connect with her students over their mutual connection to the community. “It helps to show them that, ‘Hey, we’re really not all that different.’”

Ms. Fisher started her own journey with ACPS in 1988, when she made up the entire math department of Murray High School for the first year it opened. From there, she moved to the Department of Technology to be an instructional technology specialist (which we now call Learning Technology Integrators) for all fifteen ACPS elementary schools.

But she wasn’t done yet! She went back and forth between being with the Department of Technology and the Department of Instruction, where she spent some time as a learning coach, before finally settling in as assistant principal at Henley Middle four years ago.

“What really drew me to this position was being able to work more directly with the kids,” Ms. Fisher said. “While the other positions I was in do important work, sometimes you’re kind of separated from the kids, and I wanted to make a more direct impact than that.”

In order to do that, Ms. Fisher draws on her own experience as a student, both in grade school and higher education.

“I wasn’t good at school until college,” she said, “when I learned how my brain worked and how I could best learn the information. And my goal here in the schools is to make sure we do that for every student that comes through here. 

“We want to make sure that we meet them where they are. We want to give our students the opportunity to show us how smart they are and how they are smart, even if it’s not ‘the right way.’”

She does this by aiming to foster a personal connection with every student that she can.

“One of the things I love about being in the schools is that you can just walk around and see the kids,” she said. She said she doesn’t spend a lot of time in her office, but instead likes to get out into the classrooms and halls to make sure that her students — and all Henley students — are staying on track.

“If they’re having a rough day, or for whatever reason just need to take a walk, we can do that,” Ms. Fisher said. “A lot of times, we end up at my Jeep out in the parking lot. That’s what I use to show the kids that they can do what they aspire to. That Jeep was a dream of mine, and I went out and made it happen.”

What she really wants her students to take away from their time at Henley is that if they are willing to put in the work, they can make their dreams come true, too. Whether it’s college, or a dream job, or a dream car, they can do it.

“I always tell them that if I can do it, they can too.”