Manassas officials tap former Falls Church principal to lead Osbourn High School

June 17, 2013

City of Manassas school officials have selected Falls Church educator Cathy F. Benner to lead the city’s sole high school, officials announced last week.

Benner has been principal at Falls Church High School since 2008. She began her career teaching social studies in Hopewell, Va., and then moved to Fauquier County schools from 1984 to 1999, according to a news release. Prior to Falls Church, Benner served in an administrative position at Centreville High School.

John Werner, who accepted a position as a principal in Virginia’s Albemarle County, recently announced his resignation at Osbourn after his second year.

Benner couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. “I am very excited about working with the Osbourn community,” she said in a news release. “I believe some really wonderful things will happen in the coming year.”

Manassas Superintendent Catherine Magouyrk said in an interview that Benner was able to engage the community — students and parents — in Falls Church and improve test scores there. Parents have lamented scores at the 2,100-student Osbourn, which is “accredited with warning” by the state, which means scores in math, science, English and history are below state standards.

“Running a high school is like running a small city, and Osbourn High School is the size of some school divisions,” Magouyrk said. “It’s a big job that she’s done in the past and has done well.”

Magouyrk said the accreditation issue is one she expects Benner will attend to immediately. “We need to increase the involvement of all stakeholders while at the same time focusing on student achievement. We want the school to be fully accredited. … [Benner] will lead that charge.”

Benner is one of several educators elevated to a principal position this summer. The other open slots were filled with internal candidates.

Kenneth Kratzer, an assistant principal at Mayfield Intermediate School, will take the job as principal there; David Rupert, an assistant principal at Baldwin Elementary School, will take over at Weems Elementary; Angela Burnett, the principal at Weems will take over at Metz Middle School; and Kara Mills, an assistant principal at Jennie Dean Elementary, will take over as principal at George C. Round Elementary School.

All of the new principals are scheduled to begin their new roles July 1.

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