WAHS Has a New Principal

Darah Bonham was announced tonight as the new principal at Western Albemarle High School.

My opinion: having someone from the Charlottesville/Albemarle community is (hopefully) going to lead to much greater outcome than the previous principal.

Charlottesville Tomorrow notes:

Darah is an exact fit with what the Western community told us they were looking for in a new principal, an outstanding educator with a deep knowledge of instructional excellence,” said Matt Haas, assistant superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools, who noted that the community-based review panel selected Bonham unanimously.

Let’s hope this one sticks around for more than  two school years.

From a letter Darah Bonham sent this evening to the WAHS community:

Dear Members of the Western Albemarle Community:

At its meeting this evening, the School Board appointed me your new high school principal.

I am thrilled and honored to have this opportunity and to start getting to work. I intend to help preserve the rich tradition of Western Albemarle High School while enhancing opportunities for our young people. I believe it’s imperative to develop strong relationships with the community, staff and students and to always have an open-door policy to listen to ideas and issues.

I started my educational career at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia. During my 12 years at the school, I developed strong relationships and partnerships with numerous stakeholders that helped provide additional opportunities for our students. Much like Western, the culture of the school centered on creating academic and extracurricular programs that challenged and enriched the high school experience of our students. I look forward in bringing these, and my other educational experiences, to Western.

Collaboration and innovation are two areas that I believe will be important to Western’s continued progress. New ideas, programs, and instructional approaches put us on the fast track to effectively managing change and fulfilling the highest potential of our students and staff. Working together as a student body, staff and community will only make us stronger.

One of the benefits about being a candidate for the Western Albemarle principal is the chance it gave me to learn more about the school and its community. The more I discovered, the higher my admiration for the extraordinary accomplishments here. This week, for example, in their annual rankings of the best high schools in Virginia, U.S. News & World Report placed Western in the top five percent.

While my appointment will not take effect until July 1, I do not intend to wait that long before we have the opportunity to meet and talk with one another. I look forward to the opportunity to connect and work together as we continue to move Western forward.


Darah Bonham

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