School Admin Changes for New Academic Year

Photos | Courtesy of Frederick County Public Schools (L to R, above to below) Ashley Fisher, Hannah Feldman, Jo Ann Branham, Karen Hopson, Kathryn Golightly and Tracy Hilliard are taking on new adventures in Urbana schools this academic year.

Photos | Courtesy of Frederick County Public Schools
(L to R, above to below) Ashley Fisher, Hannah Feldman, Jo Ann Branham, Karen Hopson, Kathryn Golightly and Tracy Hilliard are taking on new adventures in Urbana schools this
academic year.

As the 2019-2020 school year approached, Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) made administrative changes in Urbana schools, promoting and transferring staff into principal and assistant principal positions. The incoming administrators are looking forward to joining their new communities.

Kathryn Golightly, who has been a principal for 10 years, most recently at Lincoln Elementary, will transfer to Kemptown Elementary. She is looking forward to getting to know Kemptown students and parents. “I want to build relation- ships with families,” Golightly said. After 17 years in administration, she added, “I bring stability and knowledge of how school works. I understand that we need to put children first. I (also) understand the importance of building a community around the school (and) involving the community in making decisions.”

Tracy Hilliard, who was principal of Centerville Elementary for six years, will be serving as planning principal for the new Urbana Elementary School, which will open in fall 2020. “I am housed at (the FCPS) Central Office because I don’t have a physical building to work in on a daily basis,” Hilliard said. As planning principal, she explained, “I work closely with my director, construction manager, and others to select furniture, select materials of instruction … and technology. Overall, I am excited about opening a new building to blend staff, scholars and the community to continue the legacy of excellence at Urbana Elementary.” Tess Blumenthal remains the current principal of Urbana Elementary at Sugarloaf.

Karen Hopson, who has been principal at Middletown Primary for eight years, is transferring to Centerville Elementary. She said she is looking forward to working with older elementary students, since Middletown Primary was Pre-K through second grade. “I’ve heard that Centerville Elementary) is a close-knit community,” she said, and “Middletown was the same.” Hopson is also looking forward to the resources available to her at Centerville. “I’m ready to embark on a challenge!”

Jo Ann Branham has been promoted from Ballenger Creek Middle School, where she was a math specialist, to assistant principal at Windsor Knolls. Branham, who did not attend college directly following high school, started her career with FCPS as a bus driver in 1999. After a few years, she resigned and joined the business world, but she realized that she missed dealing with students. She studied to become a math teacher and returned to FCPS in 2010 and has since earned a master’s degree in education. With the move to assistant principal, Branham said she hopes to bring the experience of her non-traditional route with her. “I want to help students achieve … to move forward, no matter where you’re going or where you’re
coming from.”

FCPS also announced that Hannah Feldman, assistant principal of Green Valley Elementary School, is returning from leave; and Ashley Fisher has been promoted from teacher specialist to Urbana High School assistant principal. Other FCPS administrative changes can be found on www.fcps.org.

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