County schools announce new division, school administrators

Published 11:44 am Saturday, August 6, 2016

Isle of Wight County Schools announces several leadership changes in preparation for the upcoming school year. Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton and the division leadership team have filled key roles to continue the mission of preparing all students for educational excellence. Lynn Briggs, spokeswoman, made the announcement late Thursday afternoon via a press release.

• Rachel Yates will serve as the new director of budget and finance, returning to Isle of Wight from Sussex County Schools where she served as their director of Finance and Business Operations.

Prior to her time in Sussex, Yates was the coordinator of Finance with Franklin City Public Schools and four years with Isle of Wight County Schools, where she held several roles in the Finance Department. In addition, Yates has over 14 years of budget and business experience in the private sector.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and finance from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and a Masters of Business Administration from Averett University.

• Tom Chelgren has been selected as the director of Special Education and Special Programs, filling the vacancy left by the retirement of Tammie Rollins-Hines, who had served as director since 2005. Chelgren returns to Isle of Wight from Hampton City Schools, where he has served as a Special Education coordinator since 2012.

Prior to Hampton, he was an assistant principal for two years at Westside Elementary School. Chelgren began his career as an elementary teacher in Prince George County, Maryland, and with Newport News Public Schools. He also served as a Special Education teacher and director of Education/Principal at Riverside Behavioral Health Center.

Chelgren earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Special Education endorsement in Emotional Disabilities from Old Dominion University, and a master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from The George Washington University. It is anticipated that the school board will approve his appointment based onThornton’s recommendation at the August board meeting.

IWCS is also pleased to welcome the following new school administrators who were recently approved by the school board:

• Jessica Harding was named the [rincipal at Georgie Tyler Middle School effective July 1. Prior to this promotion, Harding served as the assistant principal at Georgie Tyler for one year.

Before joining Isle of Wight County Schools, she worked as a History, Government and Civics teacher both for Henrico County and Portsmouth City public schools.

Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Virginia State University, a Masters of Arts in teaching from Christopher Newport University and a Masters of Education in education leadership from Regent University.

• Jeffrey “Todd” Christianson has been named the new Assistant Principal at Georgie Tyler Middle School, replacing Jessica Harding. Christianson has been a math teacher at Smithfield Middle School since 2014.

He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington and a Masters of Education from ODU.

• Andrew Roberts has been named an assistant principal at Smithfield High School. Roberts recently taught in the Career and Technical Education department at Smithfield High since 2010. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Education from UVA-Wise and a Masters in Educational Leadership from ODU.

Also joining Smithfield High School, as well as Uplift Academy, as an Assistant Principal is Ellen Burnett. Burnett comes to Isle of Wight from Mecklenburg County Schools, where she was an instructional coordinator for mathematics, art, science and music.

Previously, she taught high school math, middle school history, reading, math and science. Burnett has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science degree in education leadership from Longwood University.

“I welcome all of these talented administrators to our leadership team,” said Thornton. “I am confident that their expertise will continue to move Isle of Wight County Schools forward as we focus on the success of every child, every day.”