Thursday, June 23, 2016

Goochland School Board names new superintendent

Dr. Jeremy Raley (left) chats with (l to r) John Distrct 3 School Board member John Lumpkins, Assistant Superintendents Dr. Peter Gretz and Dr. Steve Geyer

On the rainy Thursday morning of June 23, the Goochland School Board unanimously voted to hire Dr. Jeremy Raley as the next superintendent of our school division.

Interested citizens and school staff spilled out of the school annex conference room, site of the meeting. Supervisors Susan Lascolette, District 1, and Manuel Alvarez, Jr., District 2 attended as did county administrator-elect John Budesky.

School Board Chairperson Kevin Hazzard, District 2, announced the decision at a special called meeting called to order before the vote was taken. He explained that the school board retained the firm of BWP Associates in late March to perform a comprehensive nationwide search to fill the position.

Board Vice Chairperson Beth Hardy, District 4, explained that Raley was one of an initial field of more than 30 applicants that was quickly winnowed to four finalists, all qualified for the job. “Dr. Raley’s unique blend of skills and background bubbled him to the top of the list,” she said.

Raley, 42, is currently Superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools. He holds concurrently earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia, where he also played football, and a doctorate from Shenandoah University in Winchester. He was valedictorian of his high school class in Cumberland, Maryland.

He started out as a physical education teacher in Warren County, Virginia and went on to hold positons as assistant principal, principal, director of finance, and assistant superintendent for administration and finance. This provides Raley with a well-rounded background in all of the pieces of the education puzzle that must come together for a successful student learning experience.

According to media reports, Raley submitted his resignation to the Shenandoah County School Board at a meeting on June 22. Judging from its website, the Shenandoah County School Division values innovation and creativity in the education process, much like Goochland.

Hazzard acknowledged that the Board was mindful of the short tenure of the incumbent. “We all wondered if the next superintendent is going to stick around,” he said. “We are confident that Dr. Raley and his family will come to love Goochland and be here for a good long while.”

Raley thanked everyone for thanking time out of their schedules to join the celebration. He thanked his family, wife Cindy and children Heather and Hayden, who will students at GMS in the fall, for their support. “Being the wife of a superintendent is not always the easiest thing,” Raley observed.

June 23, said Raley, is a special day for his family. He and Cindy learned that Heather was on the way 13 years ago on the same day that his very first principalship was confirmed. The Goochland announcement continues the tradition. “Our family is very excited to be part of the Goochland family.”

Raley said that he watched the great work taking place in the Goochland school division from afar.
“The first time I met with the board I knew that [Goochland] was the place I needed to be. Great conversations during the second interview solidified that.”

He apparently studied our schools well. “This is truly a successful place with a tremendous amount of talent. I look forward to continuing the great traditions and plan to do a lot of listening and learning to find out about all the great things that are happening in Goochland.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to work toward continued success. I’ll give you everything I have and work hard to not let you down. I am excited about what the future holds for us all and am honored and humbled to have this opportunity,” Raley said, concluding his remarks.

Hazzard said that Raley’s “calm, mature approach to handling various kinds of issues” resonated with the board. Our new superintendent supports “an innovative atmosphere that maximizes teaching and learning and believes that s students learn best when they can be actively engaged in authentic and meaningful academic experiences that will allow them to demonstrate their ability to communicate, collaborate, critically think, and demonstrate creativity with any given content.”

Raley’s official start date is July 1; due to vacation, he will be here full-time beginning on July 11. In the meantime, Raley will meet with interim Superintendent Dr. Steve Geyer and others to ensure a smooth transition.

Raley’s annual salary is $160,000. He and his family are in the early stages of relocating to Goochland, where they expect to quickly become a part of the community.

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