Craig Dommer, who has served as an administrator for six years at two Albemarle County public schools and as a member of the division’s nationally renowned instructional coaching program for three prior years, has been named principal of Hollymead Elementary School.
Dommer succeeds Kimberly Candler, whose appointment as Hollymead’s principal was announced on May 29. Candler, who does not live in the county, subsequently withdrew her appointment due to family considerations.
Most recently, Dommer, whose appointment is effective immediately, was an assistant principal at the division’s largest middle school, Henley, which has an enrollment of more than 800 students. Last year, nearly 470 students were enrolled at Hollymead.
From 2012 until 2017, Dommer was the principal of Yancey Elementary School, broadly expanding the school’s project-based learning programs and its community outreach.
“Craig is a well-experienced, innovative and collaborative leader, an exceptionally strong fit with the Hollymead community,” said Dr. Clare Keiser, the division’s Assistant Superintendent for Organizational Development and Human Resource Leadership. Dr. Keiser, herself a former Hollymead principal, said another strength that will be valuable to the school will be Dommer’s work as a lead instructional coach, where he worked with teachers and principals across the division to improve teaching strategies and practices.
At Hollymead, Dommer will be joined on the school’s senior leadership team by Laura Morris, whose appointment as an assistant principal was announced last week. Morris, who attended Hollymead as a student and later taught at the school, also was a teacher at Red Hill and Scottsville, where in 2003 she earned a Golden Apple Award.
“It is an honor to have this privilege of serving Hollymead as its principal,” Dommer said. “I long have admired the school’s learning community for its focus on the healthy lifestyle development of the whole child, bringing together academics, the arts and community partners. I’m eager to begin preparing our team for what I know will be a highly successful school year,” he said.
Dommer said his first order of business is to begin scheduling opportunities to meet with Hollymead’s talented faculty and staff and with parents and other community leaders whose strong engagement with the school has been a vital part of its success.
Recently, Hollymead received the state Board of Education’s Distinguished Achievement Award for the outstanding performance of its students on state assessment tests, placing the school in the top ten percent of all elementary schools in Virginia.
The school opened in 1972. Dommer will be the school’s 12th principal, succeeding Nancy Teel, who led the school from 2012 until her retirement this year.
Dommer began his career in education teaching reading and math, and he was a math specialist for three schools in the division: Cale, Yancey and Red Hill. He also taught in the Williamsburg-James City and Charlottesville City school divisions. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Buffalo; a master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Virginia (UVA); and an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree from UVA in Administration and Supervision.