With a Focus on Community & Teamwork, Scottsville’s New Principal Is an Experienced ACPS Leader

With a Focus on Community & Teamwork, Scottsville’s New Principal Is an Experienced ACPS Leader
Cyndi Wells

Cyndi Wells, who has served as the principal of Mountain View Elementary School since 2019, was appointed by the Albemarle County School Board as the next principal of Scottsville Elementary School. Her appointment was made during a special meeting last evening and will take effect on July 1.

“Change can often be a powerful growth opportunity,” Wells said. “I always have admired Scottsville’s pledge to its families and staff—that the school is dedicated to the growth of its children through active, engaging, meaningful learning experiences that strengthen the commitment to education of the entire Scottsville community. I am looking forward to joining with an exceptionally talented staff, highly passionate and engaged families, and extraordinary students in fulfilling this commitment,” she said.

Wells joined Albemarle County Public Schools in 2006 as the Title I Coordinator, supporting teachers, administrators and students in Title I schools. In 2009, she was appointed as a lead coach in the division, co-creating the instructional coaching model and overseeing the curriculum and professional development for fine arts teachers, preschool teachers, and professional development, followed by ESOL and World Languages.

Over the past four years, Wells has led Mountain View through a dynamic growth period, which has seen student enrollment climb by more than 20%, from 630 to 760 students. The school has embraced culturally responsive teaching, a practice that aligns instruction to the life experiences and cultures of its highly diverse school community. About 43% of Mountain View’s students are white; 28% are of Hispanic heritage; 17% are Black; and 9% are from multiracial families. Mountain View students come from 17 different birth countries.

The school was the first elementary school in the division, and one of the few in the Commonwealth, to offer students an immersion program in which 50% of all instruction during the school day is in English and 50% in Spanish. Today, all children at Mountain View learn Spanish, whether in the Immersion program or in Discovery classes that offer Spanish instruction as part of the overall curriculum.

“I recall thinking back in 2019,” Wells said, “that Mountain View was a real-life ideal of what the Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro wrote: ‘Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.’” 

As is the case with Mountain View, Scottsville is a Title I school, but with an enrollment of about 230 students. Dating back to 2006, Wells has known and worked with the school’s five principals. “Over the years, my admiration for the Scottsville community, for the passion that families have for local education, and for the invaluable resources that flow from such a strong school-community partnership, has grown larger each year,” Wells said.

Earlier this year, Art Stow, who is serving as the interim Scottsville principal, announced his retirement. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Clare Keiser, who led the search for his successor, said of Wells’ appointment, “This is an ideal match of expertise and community expectations. Ms. Wells has a strong instructional leadership record. In addition to serving as the principal for our largest elementary school, she brings to Scottsville a great passion for connecting with and listening to teachers, a deep personal understanding of their needs, and a sense of how best to support their professional goals.”
Keiser said that the Mountain View community will be asked to assist in the search process for a new principal through an online survey and the possibility of serving on a committee that will screen candidates. “Our objective is to make this appointment while Cyndi is still in place and can contribute to a seamless transition,” said Keiser. “We anticipate naming a new principal by the end of May,” she added.

“As I told our families and staff four years ago, it truly was an honor to serve as Mountain View’s principal,” Wells said. “With amazing contributions from our families and a highly talented and engaged staff, we did not miss a beat during a time of significant growth; a pandemic; a school name change; and what seemed to be non-stop construction. We still expanded our partnerships through such successful events as Hispanic Heritage Night; Soul Fests during Black History Month; and our COLTS CARE initiative to welcome and engage all students by valuing the richness of the diverse life experiences and cultures they offer every day,” Wells said.

Wells began her career in public education as a classroom teacher in San Antonio, Texas. She was a clinical faculty member at Trinity University, her alma mater, and a summer school principal. She later was the Director of Professional Development for the Core Knowledge Foundation here in Charlottesville, Virginia. She attended the New England Conservatory of Music’s Extension Division and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Trinity University in San Antonio. She holds two Master of Arts degrees, one in teaching and the other in administration and supervision.

Pictured: Cyndi Wells

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