School Board Approves Appointment of New Principals for Henley Middle School, Hollymead Elementary School

LaRuth Ensley (left) and Joe McCauley (right)

During a special meeting last evening, the Albemarle County School Board approved the appointment of two new school principals in the division. Effective today, LaRuth Ensley is the new principal of Henley Middle School and Joe McCauley is Hollymead Elementary School’s new principal.

Ms. Ensley is succeeding Beth Costa, who became Monticello High School’s principal today. Ms. Ensley joins the division after serving for three years as the assistant principal of Falling Creek Middle School in Chesterfield County Public Schools. She previously chaired the English Department for Armstrong High School in Richmond Public Schools, and from 2006 through 2015, she was on the faculty of several community colleges and online universities.

“The breadth of Ms. Ensley’s instructional expertise and innovation, both at the secondary and post-high school levels, will be a significant asset for Henley students in preparing for their future academic and career goals,” said Dr. Clare Keiser, the division’s Assistant Superintendent for Organizational Development and Human Resource Leadership. “Her exceptional interpersonal skills and her passion for collaboration are a perfect fit with a learning community that cares so deeply about the academic and social and emotional development of each and every child,” she added.

“Albemarle County has great appeal for any educator who is focused on consistent, measurable, and broad-based student learning,” Ensley said. “I am very impressed with the division’s priorities as outlined in its strategic plan—putting students first, academically and emotionally; embracing the perspectives of parents and staff in how we best support students; and remaining firmly committed to equity in the educational opportunities we offer,” she said.

Falling Creek Middle School has approximately 1,400 students, while Henley is the division’s largest middle school, with nearly 900 students. Ms. Ensley has an extensive background in strategic planning, community outreach, and professional development with staff. She will bring strong interests in mentoring students and staff to Henley and in programs that build planning and organizational skills that prepare students for college and career success.

Ms. Ensley is working toward her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University, and she holds an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree from The George Washington University. She earned both a master’s and an undergraduate degree from Old Dominion University. She began her career in education as an English teacher for Suffolk Public Schools in 2001.

Mr. McCauley joins Albemarle County Public Schools after having served as the principal of Ogden Avenue School in La Grange, IL, which is located about 15 miles southwest of Chicago. He led the implementation of increased rigor in the curriculum at the high-performing school; prioritized equity-based practices, including improved Response to Intervention systems of support for students; and joined with parents and teachers in expanding classroom technology resources.

“Our entire team was highly impressed with Mr. McCauley’s commitment to always putting students first, the value he places on closely working with teachers and staff, his communication skills, and his systemic approach that always comes back to learning improvement in the way he leads a school,” said Dr. Keiser.

“I’m very excited to join Albemarle County Public Schools, and Hollymead specifically. The district's vision for student learning and schoolwide systems makes this a fantastic opportunity for a school leader. Hollymead has a caring and active community of parents, and its staff clearly is committed to and passionate about teaching and learning. I'm eager to work with everyone and support their continued great work with students,” the new principal said.

McCauley is a 1997 undergraduate of the University of Kansas. He holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt University. He began his career in education as a Chicago Public Schools teacher for students in grades 5-12 and served nine years as a special education teacher at Molloy Education Center in Morton Grove, IL. Prior to becoming Ogden’s principal, he served as an assistant principal supporting three elementary and middle schools.

McCauley is succeeding Craig Dommer, who has been appointed as the school division’s Director of Instructional/Tiered Services.

Both Ensley and McCauley will begin their transitions immediately and will be relocating to their new schools by the middle of next month.

Pictured: LaRuth Ensley (left) and Joe McCauley (right)


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