Richmond Public Schools announce hiring of 12 principals

Posted at 10:30 PM, Jun 13, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond Public Schools have announced the hiring of 12 new principals for the 2019-2020 school year.

Principals were named for Bellevue Elementary, Blackwell Elementary, Fairfield Court Elementary, George Mason Elementary, Ginter Park Elementary, George Wythe High School, Greene Elementary, Henderson Middle School, John Marshall High School, Overby-Sheppard Elementary, Richmond Community High School and Thomas Jefferson High School.

The principal for Albert Hill Middle School will be announced at a later date.

Each candidate was vetted through a rigorous, seven-step selection process including panel interviews with teachers, staff, and community members, and formal interviews with Superintendent Kamras and members of the RPS leadership team.

“In each one of these candidates, we saw great leaders who we know will lead with love and inspire our students to greatness,” RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras said.

“I was both excited and proud to be a part of the community panel because it gave me the opportunity to influence the direction of the public school that will influence my child,” said AJ Brewer, a Blackwell Elementary School parent. “Being a part of this process really helps me sleep at night knowing that I’m dropping him off with a principal that I helped select.”

The principal announcements are as follows:

Bellevue Elementary School – V. Tanaia Hines

Tanaia Hines is committed to ensuring that students of all socioeconomic backgrounds have the same educational opportunities needed to excel.  Prior to being selected as the new principal of Bellevue Elementary School, Ms. Hines served as an assistant principal in Norfolk Public Schools in an International Baccalaureate MYP and STEM school. In this role, she implemented a Project Based Learning teaching strategy, working to shift the mindset of traditional teaching to developing STEM-literate citizens prepared for 21st-century professions.  Prior to her administrative roles, Ms. Hines spent nine years as an elementary school teacher.  Ms. Hines earned her Bachelor’s in Exercise Science from Old Dominion University and her Master’s in School Administration from Cambridge College.


Blackwell Elementary School – Teresa Anderson

Dr. Teresa K. Anderson has spent her career improving student achievement in urban and rural environments.  Prior to being selected as the new principal of Blackwell Elementary School, Dr. Anderson served as an associate principal, where she ensured a strong and loving school culture as a foundation for learning.  Previously, Dr. Anderson served as a principal, assistant principal, and 7th and 8th grade English and Math teacher.  Dr. Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and she holds a Master’s of Education from Barat at DePaul University, a Master’s of Science Administration in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University, and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Fayetteville State University.


Fairfield Court Elementary School – Demetri Sermons

Dr. Demetri Sermons has made improving urban education for students the core of his work as an educator.  Prior to being named the new principal of Fairfield Court Elementary School, Dr. Sermons was a school leader in Wilmington, Delaware and Washington, D.C. where he focused on improving early literacy for students of color and establishing Social and Emotional Learning components (SEL) for all students.  Dr. Sermons also served as a Gifted Education Specialist, Testing Coordinator, Advanced Placement Coordinator and high school English Department Chair in Atlanta, Georgia.  Dr. Sermons earned his Bachelor’s in English and French Education from Troy University, a Master’s in Education and an Educational Specialist degree from Central Michigan University and his Doctorate of Education with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University.

George Mason Elementary School – Kimberly Cook

Kimberly Cook has spent her career improving educational outcomes for students and raising the bar for teaching and learning across multiple school systems.  Prior to being selected as the new principal of George Mason Elementary School, Ms. Cook served as a principal in Fairfax County Public Schools, directly supporting quality instructional practices, cultivating a positive school community and building a strong home/school connection based on collaboration and trust. She was also nominated for First Year Principal of the Year.  Additionally, Ms. Cook served as an assistant principal in Fairfax County Public Schools and she began her career in Richmond Public Schools as a Kindergarten teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School.  Ms. Cook earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, her Master’s in Teaching from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from George Mason University.


Ginter Park Elementary School – L. Michelle Jones

Michelle Jones has spent her career focusing on improving academic achievement for every student, in every classroom, every day. Prior to being selected as the new principal of Ginter Park Elementary School, Michelle served as Overby-Sheppard Elementary School’s Academic Interventionist, directly supporting students’ academic and social growth as well as increasing teacher efficacy through facilitating job-embedded professional development.  Previously, Ms. Jones served as a principal in Caroline County, VA, where she dramatically improved student performance by transforming a non-accredited school to a fully accredited school in four years. Ms. Jones also served as principal of Southside Elementary School in Dinwiddie, VA and began her career as a 5th grade teacher in North Carolina.  Ms. Jones earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Fayetteville and holds a Master’s in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Master’s in Special Education from the University of Phoenix.

George Wythe High School – Joseph Pisani

Dr. Joe Pisani has spent his career focused on improving the academic and social growth of all children. Prior to serving as the new principal of George Wythe High School, Dr. Pisani served as the principal at two Virginia high schools, Massaponax High School in Spotsylvania County and Washington and Lee High School in Westmoreland County. He has also served as a building principal, associate principal, and high school Social Studies teacher in New York.  During his tenure in New York, he was named his district’s 2002 Teacher of The Year and has been nominated numerous times for Virginia’s Principal of the Year.  Dr. Pisani earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from Capella University and holds a Postgraduate Degree in School District Administration and Masters of Science in Education, both from Dowling College in New York.

Greene Elementary School – Juvenal Abrego-Meneses

Dr. Juvenal Abrego-Meneses has spent his career in urban and rural schools, implementing and evaluating instructional programs to improve the quality of teaching in K-12 classrooms.  Prior to serving as the new principal of Greene Elementary School, Dr. Abrego-Meneses served as a high school and elementary school assistant principal, Coordinator of Migrant Education Program, and most recently Middle School Coordinator of Assessment and Remediation.  Previously, Dr. Abrego-Meneses worked for the Virginia Department of Education and Cumberland County Public Schools as the Director of the Governor’s School Residential Program for Gifted and Talented Students in Region 8. He began his career as an elementary school teacher and spent twelve years as a high school ESL and Spanish teacher.  Dr. Abrego-Meneses earned his Bachelor of Arts in Bilingual Education from the National University of Panama, a Master’s of Arts in English Education and Creative Writing from Longwood University, a Graduate Certificate in TESOL and in the Teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language, an Education Specialist Degree in K-12 Administration and Supervision from Virginia Tech, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership from the College of William and Mary.


Henderson Middle School – Antoine London

Antione London has spent his career enhancing the educational experience of students, teachers, families, and communities.  Prior to serving as the new principal of Henderson Middle School, Mr. London served as an assistant principal for four years in Suffolk Public Schools working with STEM and Special Education teachers, and establishing programs such as a new teacher professional learning community and a male mentoring program for students.  Previously, Mr. London served the Hampton Roads community for eleven years as both an assistant principal and a teacher, and was recognized as the building level Teacher of the Year.  Mr. London earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Education from Norfolk State University, and holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Regent University.

John Marshall High School – Monica Murray

Monica Murray has spent her career helping students and staff reach their fullest potential through rigorous teaching and learning and building relationships.  Prior to serving as the new principal of John Marshall High School, Ms. Murray served as an assistant principal at Armstrong High School where she supported teachers to promote student learning and growth.  Before her role as an assistant principal, Ms. Murray was a teacher in Richmond Public Schools for 22 years, including being named a RPS Teacher of the Year Finalist and a R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence Finalist.  Ms. Murray earned her Bachelor’s of Science from Virginia Union University and both her Master’s and Certificate of Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Overby-Sheppard Elementary School – Shayla Holeman

Shayla Holeman has spent her career working to improve academic, social, and emotional outcomes for students in underserved communities.  Prior to serving as the new principal of Overby-Sheppard Elementary School, Ms. Holeman served as a principal in Durham, NC where she increased academic performance for students.  Previously, Ms. Holeman served as an elementary school principal where she led her school to the highest academic gains in the district during her first year and was named Principal of the Year for Person County Schools.  Ms. Holeman also served as an assistant principal and started her teaching career in Richmond Public Schools.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in English and Philosophy and holds an MBA from Strayer University and a Post Master’s in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Richmond Community High School – Kenya Massenburg

Kenya E. Massenburg has spent her career as an educational leader, developing relationships with the students, teachers, parents, and communities in which she serves in order to ensure student success. Prior to being named the principal of Richmond Community High School (RCHS), Mrs. Massenburg served as the interim principal for RCHS, working closely with staff and students to foster a positive learning environment, maintain high academic standards, encourage continuous improvement, and develop partnerships with parents and the community. Previously, Mrs. Massenburg worked in Henrico County, as an assistant and associate principal. Mrs. Massenburg earned her Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master’s in Education from Virginia State University, along with a Master’s in Educational Leadership from George Washington University.

Thomas Jefferson High School – Cherita Sears

Cherita Holland Sears has spent her career promoting socio-emotional growth, academic achievement, and equity in urban schools.  Prior to being selected as the new principal of Thomas Jefferson High School, Mrs. Sears served as both the principal and assistant principal at Albert H. Hill Middle School.  Previously, Mrs. Sears served as Dean of Students at Meadowbrook High School in Chesterfield County, following a thirteen-year career teaching English in Richmond Public Schools and Chesterfield County Public Schools.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Education from Old Dominion University and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.



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