Smith, White named Instructional Leaders of the Year

At the close of the 2016 Administrators’ Conference, Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence gave away the conference’s highest honors, the Elementary and Secondary Instructional Leader of the Year awards.

At the elementary level, College Park Elementary School’s Dr. Sterling White was named the Instructional Leader of the Year. Salem Middle School Principal Dr. Jim Smith was named awarded the honor for the secondary level.

White, who has 14 years of experience as a principal, was new to the division in the 2015-16 school year. Yet, he set himself and College Park apart through his focus on collaboration, his systematic approach for gathering and analyzing data as well as his effort to build and maintain a positive school culture.


Smith was heralded for his work throughout the building. His presence in the classroom, hallway and at school functions and activities are his main priority as a school principal. Additionally, he has helped establish an environment at Salem Middle that focused on student growth through the use of research-based teaching practices, enhanced teacher-student relationships and his own collegial relationships with his fellow principal peers.


Keeping with the tradition set last year, as part of the honor, each principal received a piece of art from a local artist in Virginia Beach.

This year’s conference was Olympic-themed, “Go For The Gold: Championing Equity In Our Schools.” In that spirit, Spence also honored two additional “Olympic qualifiers” at both the elementary and secondary level for their great work in their schools.

In the elementary level, Casey Conger from Creeds Elementary as well as Tim Sullivan from Williams Elementary were honored.

In the secondary level, Dr. Daniel Smith from Princess Anne High School was honored as well as Dr. Alex Bergren from Princess Anne Middle.

The annual Administrators’ Conference is the one time during the year where the administrative teams from all of the division’s schools and centers come together to celebrate the successes of the year, outline goals and initiatives as well as receive training from departments and offices.

“To all of our administrators, I want to say ‘thank you’ for all that you do for every child in our schools, every day,” Spence told the crowd. “You may not be Olympians, but you are certainly champions. You are champions for children and champions and heroes to the children in your schools.”

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