​​Beginning a new school year is always full of energy and excitement. This year, buried under the layers of health mitigations and fear of the unknown, I found myself excited and thrilled that children and teachers are back in the classrooms at W.T. Cooke Elementary.

Looking toward the road ahead and reflecting on where we want to go as an organization, I kept coming back to one word, connection.

How do we as principals, in our schools and in our profession regain and remain connected to our students and each other? What opportunities and processes can we put into place to build stronger connections, while still in the midst of a pandemic? Secondly, what are the messages we want to clearly communicate to our members and the community at large? Speaking as one, using a common language that clearly advocates for our students educational growth and well being is essential. Finally, what opportunities do we have as an organization to grow and develop high quality and timely professional development? I believe now more than ever the principal's of VA need an organization that is focused and ready to support and advocate for our students.

I am so excited for the road ahead and ready to take this journey together!

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September is here! After 36 in public education I am trying to figure out what my day looks like without a bell prompting me to begin and end my workday!

I miss the rhythm of a school year, especially the beginning. I love the smell of school supplies, the energy of open house and the excitement of the first few days of school.

I am equally excited to begin this new journey as VAESP Executive Director. I believe having a network of support for principals is more important than ever! There is not a playbook for leading a school during and after a pandemic. Together we can work to solve problems we are facing across the state of Virginia. Difficulties such as academic recovery, equity. SEL , staff shortages and principal wellness all weigh heavy on our minds. Providing timely communication, relevant professional development, informed advocacy and professional support is the road map to success.

Join us on this journey, together we can make this school year this best ever for your students and staff and you!


Krista Arnold, Executive Director, VAESP

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VAESP has a Joint State relationship with NAESP.  When you join VAESP, you also join NAESP


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Casey Conger, President of VAESP

New Year, New Reality


Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals

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Richmond, Virginia 23230

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