Art Stow, who has served as principal for one of the smallest elementary schools in Albemarle County for 13 years, has been appointed as associate principal for Sutherland Middle School beginning on July 1. Stow, who has been Red Hill’s principal since 2005, will be moving from a school with 200 students to a school with more than 600 students.
As Sutherland’s new associate principal, he will join recently-appointed principal, Megan Wood, whose appointment also is effective on July 1. Wood succeeds interim principal Brandi Robertson, who has been appointed as an assistant principal at Brownsville Elementary School.
Robertson announced to the Sutherland staff yesterday that she will be returning to elementary education on July 1. “My experiences at Sutherland these past two years certainly have strengthened my abilities to prepare elementary school students for success in their middle and high school careers,” she wrote.
Although Red Hill’s student enrollment is barely over 200 students, it has been the site of many of the school division’s most innovative programming in recent years. The school was the first in the division to employ multiage classrooms in 2013, and it was an early implementer of the maker curriculum. The latter has become an increasingly popular instructional model in education with its emphasis on project-based learning designed to equip students not only with knowledge, but also with such skills as creativity, teamwork, and critical analysis as a problem-solving strategy.
In 2016, a 30,500-square foot addition to the school modernized its security entrance, classrooms, the library, and maker spaces.
“Art’s appointment is very good news for the Sutherland community,” said Wood. “You need look no further than Red Hill’s time-honored vision to understand the immediate impact he will have on our students,” she said.
Red Hill’s vision, that “Through the development of curiosity, imagination, love of learning, respect for diversity, and intellect, all learners reach their highest potential,” is a reflection, Wood said, of Stow’s priorities as an educational leader.
“I’m very excited to be joining Megan at Sutherland this July,” said Stow. “The school is on the forward edge of the most innovative work being done by faculty and students, not just in our school division, but across our nation,” he said. Stow pointed out, for example, the school’s earlier status as one of the few Smithsonian Schools in the nation, based on an engineering and science curriculum that the school developed in partnership with the Smithsonian Museum’s education arm in Washington.
The school division said it will begin a recruitment process this week for Stow’s successor at Red Hill and that the community will have the opportunity to offer their views and opinions through an online survey. A community member also will serve on the interview panel for prospective candidates.
Prior to his appointment as Red Hill’s principal, Stow was an assistant principal at Henley Middle School, and before that, taught at Agnor-Hurt, Brownsville, and Hollymead elementary schools. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Southern College and a master’s degree in Education Administration from James Madison University.
Stow began his career in education 33 years ago as a kindergarten teacher with the Polk County school district in Florida. He joined Albemarle County Public Schools in 1992 as a fifth-grade teacher at Brownsville Elementary School.
Of Robertson’s 10 years with the school division, she spent eight of them as assistant principal of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School. “It has been a privilege to have served as Sutherland’s principal on an interim basis this year and to have developed so many wonderful relationships. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the outstanding team at Sutherland, which has been so dedicated to supporting the academic and personal growth and development of our students,” she added.