Western’s New Principal (2021 edition)

That was quick; good.

Via email, from WAHS’ new principal.

Dear Western Albemarle Families and Staff:

As announced by Dr. Keiser in an email a few minutes ago, I am thrilled and privileged to be working with all of you as your new principal beginning tomorrow.

Joining—or in my case, rejoining—a school community is a time for reflection and goal setting. Thinking about this opportunity brought up memories of two Western principals who were powerful role models to me as a young student and an educator. Charlie Armstrong, Western’s first principal, was a dynamic and inspirational leader who worked with our community to build a shared vision of our new school as a place where students and teachers want to be and are proud of all we accomplish together. Anne Coughlin, the principal when I returned to Western to teach, brought a different style of leadership to our school with reflective and patient thoughtfulness and an innate ability to make everyone feel that they mattered and that their perspectives and input contributed to our shared vision.

Both fostered a school culture that supported my success as a student and a teacher and, later, allowed me as an administrator to continue to harness the power of relationships and partnerships with students, faculty and families. As an assistant principal here, relationships were at the heart of the work we did together to support all students. This will continue to be true.

Our commitment to all students is essential. Some of my most important work over the past three years has been with the Department of Instruction and the Office of Community Engagement and Empowerment, implementing our anti-racism policy and the expansion of our culturally responsive teaching program. This work will create more pathways for building on Western’s tradition of excellence as we push ourselves to meet each student’s needs and ensure their success.

This is a formative time for our high school as we recover from the pandemic, think expansively about how we will reimage and expand innovative learning experiences, and engage productively with our community, drawing upon the ideas and expertise of every member of our team. The years ahead will be an exciting time, and I look forward to working with and supporting you as, together, we realize our potential as a school community.

This process of working together will begin this summer when I will schedule opportunities to reconnect and to get to know all of you even better as we prepare for the new year. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to email me any time at [email protected] to share your thoughts and suggestions.

It has been my honor to be a member of our community and school for several decades. Throughout the years, I have appreciated the contributions of our students, faculty, families, and greater community in building that tradition of excellence. I continue to be impressed by the high expectations you each set and I am confident that, with your continued engagement, the years ahead will be an extraordinary time in our school community’s legacy.


Jennifer Sublette

And the email from Albemarle County’s Assistant Superintendent

Dear Members of Our Western Albemarle Community:

It’s a privilege to share the news with you that our school board this afternoon approved the appointment of Jennifer Sublette as Western Albemarle’s new principal. Few administrators can bring the experience and knowledge of having attended, taught at, and served as a previous leadership team member of a school to their new role as principal. Very few.

Ms. Sublette’s impressive credentials include the bedrock instructional and team-building requirements that define an outstanding educator. She has served our teachers as a lead coach for social studies, working across the division to share best instructional practices and strategies, and since 2018, she has led our professional development program.

Among her most important contributions are her involvement in our anti-racism professional development steering committee; collaboratively developing a micro-credential in student social, emotional and academic development; supporting grading and assessment improvements; and playing a key role in such vital programs as our New Teacher Academy, CAI, and Making Connections.

Many of you may know Ms. Sublette from her support of Western Albemarle teachers and students as an assistant principal for three years and, earlier in her career, from her eight years as a teacher at Western. In expressing her interest in being Western’s principal, she cited a passion for bringing together students, families, teachers, and community partners, both to continue Western’s long tradition of excellence and to reimagine how to provide challenging and successful learning experiences.

I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who participated in our community survey and selection process, and to all of the outstanding educators who comprised such a strong pool of candidates. Please join me in welcoming Jenn Sublette back to our Western community. I know among her first priorities will be to schedule opportunities to hear from you about how the school can reach even greater heights in the year ahead.


Dr. Clare Keiser
Assistant Superintendent

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