Shenandoah Elementary to name new principal by January

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Shenandoah Elementary

Both suspended staff members terminated by school board

By Randy Arrington

SHENANDOAH, Dec. 6 — About 10 weeks after two staff members of Shenandoah Elementary were put on paid administrative leave for undisclosed reasons, members of the Page County School Board have now made their decision. Last Thursday, Dr. Antonia Fox, superintendent of Page County Public Schools, sent a letter out to the parents and staff of Shenandoah Elementary about a change in leadership.

“Mr. [Corey] Harlow will not be returning to Shenandoah Elementary School,” the Nov. 30 letter states. “We are actively working to ensure a smooth transition during this time of change. We are currently accepting applications for the position of Principal of Shenandoah Elementary School and anticipate naming a new principal in January of 2024. We will keep you updated on this process.”

The school board voted on Monday, Nov. 27 to terminate the employment contracts of both Principal Corey Harlow and instructional assistant Chelsea Atkinson. Dr. Fox stated in a reply to PVN that “neither employee will be returning to Shenandoah or PCPS.”

Following last Monday’s vote, both employees were notified on Wednesday, Nov. 29, according to Dr. Fox, and Central Office administration met with the Shenandoah Elementary staff that same day to discuss the next steps in the process.

“Both positions are posted on the division’s website and we are actively seeking qualified applicants,” Dr. Fox stated. “Faculty, staff, and parents/guardians have the opportunity to provide the division with feedback on what they would like to see in the next principal through an anonymous survey that was distributed last week. “

That survey will remain open through this Friday, Dec. 8, and the information gained from it will be used in the hiring process, according to the superintendent.

“The current leadership being provided by Mrs. [Joanna] Foltz will continue until a new principal is named,” Dr. Fox’s Nov. 30 letter states. “With support from staff from the Central Office, Mrs. Foltz and the talented faculty and staff of Shenandoah are committed to continuing to provide the instruction and support we have come to expect from Shenandoah Elementary. This will continue as we transition the leadership at Shenandoah Elementary.”

Harlow was first hired by PCPS at the start of the 2019-2020 school year as a counselor at Stanley Elementary School. He served as the assistant principal at Shenandoah Elementary for a short time before being named principal to start the 2022-2023 school year. Prior to arriving at PCPS, Harlow was employed by Shenandoah County Public Schools.

Atkinson was hired at the start of the 2021-2022 school year in the role of an instructional assistant at Shenandoah Elementary. She began this year in the same role, working with pre-K special needs students.

A new principal could be named in the next six or seven weeks, and Dr. Fox acknowledges that the ripple effects from an administrative change like this could carry over for a while.

“Decisions such as these are never easy, but are based on factual information and made in accordance with division policy,” the superintendent stated. “We thank the Shenandoah faculty and staff for their hard work during this time, as well as the Shenandoah community for their continued support through this transition. We will continue to keep everyone updated throughout the next steps in the process.”

To learn more about Page County Public Schools,

visit https://www.pagecounty.k12.va.us/o/pcps

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