Sutherland Middle School

Rick Vrhovac has been named principal of Sutherland Middle School. Vrhovac, whose new post is effective immediately, succeeds Dave Rogers.

A graduate of Lipscomb and James Madison universities, Vrhovac comes to northern Albemarle from Walton Middle School, where he served as assistant principal.

Prior to Walton, he served as assistant principal at Albemarle High School from 2009-13, taught science at Burley Middle School, and directed athletics in Louisa County for eight years.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to work with the Sutherland community,” Vrhovac said. “I am eager to get to know and work with parents, because so much of their children’s success will be built upon our shared commitment to excellence.”

Matt Haas, Albemarle’s assistant superintendent who led the search, praised the Sutherland community for offering input, which identified being a strong communicator, an effective educator and a character builder as important qualities.

“Rick will be an outstanding leader for Sutherland, because he represents all of those qualities,” Haas said, citing “Stop One, Save One,” an anti-bullying program Vrhovac developed at Albemarle High School, as an example.

Vrhovac said that school “is all about relationships.”

“It’s why I make a point of being out of my office and in the hallways as often as possible,” Vrhovac said. “That’s the most effective way to get to know students, to learn about the issues and concerns that matter the most, and to support them.”

During the 2012-13 school year, Walton’s leadership came under fire for student discipline issues. Walton Principal Alison Dwier-Selden said Vrhovac’s presence made an immediate impact.

“Rick earned the trust and respect of our entire school community, including parents, for the way in which he listens, understands needs and brings a sense of accountability for getting things done,” Dwier-Selden said.

Haas said that in addition to Vrhovac’s contribution to Walton, other structural changes at the southern Albemarle school, including an intervention specialist and a school resource officer, have occurred.

Pam Moran, superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools, said she’s pleased with Vrhovac’s teaching and coaching experience.

“I believe he’s going to be an incredibly good match for Sutherland Middle School…and the northern feeder pattern,” Moran said.

The search for a new Walton Middle School assistant principal will begin immediately.