New principals announced for Alexandria middle schools

An educator from Houston has been chosen to guide Francis C. Hammond Middle School as its principal when it reopens next September as one large school instead of three small ones.

Meilin Jao will lead the re-consolidated school, Alexandria superintendent Alvin L. Crawley announced Sunday. She will work with three academic principals and a dean of students in a new leadership structure designed to nurture personal relationships with students in a larger setting.

The school board approved a plan in February to re-consolidate the city’s two middle schools, dissolving five smaller schools within schools that were created four years ago.

Former superintendent Morton Sherman created the smaller schools to improve performance. But four years later, most of the small schools are struggling — with four of the five falling short of full state accreditation because of low test scores.

A new principal and administrative team for George Washington Middle School were also announced last week. Jesse Mazur, currently principal at Audubon Middle and High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will be the school leader there.

In press statements, Crawley said that both leaders have records of success.

As principal of Frank Black Middle School in Houston since 2007, Jao increased enrollment and managed to save the school from scheduled closure, the statement said.

According to Crawley, Mazur is “a strategic thinker who has constructed student-centered learning environments and assembled strong teams of educators in school divisions similar to our own.”

Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.
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