Dr. Beth Costa, Henley’s Principal, Will Return to Monticello on July 1 as the High School’s Next Principal

Beth Costa

Dr. Beth Costa, who is completing her tenth year as a senior administrator in the division, has been named the next principal of Monticello High School. Costa, currently the principal of the division’s largest middle school, Henley, will succeed Rick Vrhovac. Costa’s appointment, which was announced during the May 26 school board meeting, takes effect on July 1.

Costa is returning to lead a school she previously served as an assistant principal, from 2012 to 2015. At Monticello, the range of her responsibilities included the school’s math, English, and ninth-grade programs; its ESOL and AVID programs; teacher professional development; and student attendance.

“Beth was a phenomenal leader in establishing and building student relationships. That’s what I most admired about her as a member of my senior leadership team,” said Dr. Jesse Turner, who was Monticello’s principal in 2015 and is now the school division’s Director of Student Services.

“Every student mattered to her. She saw every student, as we like to say. She was integral to the planning and implementation of our student support program, Mustang Morning, and a valuable contributor to the work we did that earned our students and school a national award for innovation,” Turner added.

At Henley, Costa oversees a school of nearly 900 students, having been appointed its principal in 2015. She has broadened educational opportunities for all student demographic groups, improved the alignment of the school’s instructional and professional development programming with individualized student needs, and strengthened relationships with parents and community partners.

Innovations that Costa brought to Henley include a policy that restricts private cell phone use by students during instructional periods and a regularly scheduled monthly conversation open to all parents.

“Among a very strong group of academic leaders, Beth Costa’s ability to recruit and develop outstanding educators, her insight and analytical skills in instructional practices that promote our highest aspirations for students, and her focus on establishing safe and collaborative learning environments will especially be invaluable in leading Monticello forward,” said Dr. Clare Keiser, the division’s Assistant Superintendent for Organizational Development and Human Resource Leadership.

During Costa’s tenure as Henley’s principal, student academic assessments have far exceeded statewide averages. On the mathematics Standards of Learning (SOL) test, for example, pass rates for Henley students are more than 50% higher than they are for all students in Virginia, and similarly, on the reading SOL test, pass rates for Henley students exceed the statewide average by almost 30 percentage points.

“I am enormously grateful for the contributions of our teachers at Henley, our world-class staff, and, of course, our students and parents, all of whom have been so focused on and enthusiastic about continuous improvement,” said Costa. “Monticello provides an opportunity to build on these foundational strengths to serve an even broader school community at a time when the high school experience in our division will be offering students many more choices for their college and career development,” she said.

Costa said her immediate priorities for Monticello will be to seek counsel, new ideas, and suggestions from staff, students and families as she designs the school’s improvement plan for the new school year. She noted the importance of building on the professional learning communities in the school by which teachers share best practices to improve student achievement. “I also strongly believe that our community partners can offer invaluable life experience counsel to our students as they prepare for college and careers,” Costa said.

The search process for a new Henley principal will begin immediately, Keiser said, calling upon all members of its school community to participate, both through an online survey and by indicating their interest in serving on the interview panel that will provide feedback on candidates. The assistant superintendent said the division will appoint a new principal in time for the new school year, providing an opportunity for the new appointee to work with Costa on the leadership transition.

Prior to her appointment as Monticello’s assistant principal in 2012, Costa served as the division’s Lead Instructional Coach for Language Arts and also as its World Languages Vertical Team Leader. She joined the division as a Language Arts Instructional Coordinator in 2008.

Pictured: Beth Costa


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