Highland School Board Hires Elementary Administrator

Highland Elementary School has a new leader following the Highland County School Board’s May meeting. The position had been open since November, when principal Teresa Blum passed away unexpectedly. The Board voted unanimously to offer the position, now titled Elementary Administrator, to Nicole Cabral. Following the vote, Ms. Cabral introduced herself to those in attendance.

“I do want to say thank you very much to the Board and Mr. Winkler for giving me the opportunity to do this. I am extremely excited about starting in Highland. I have three little girls myself who will be coming with me, and they are excited about moving to the mountains. I have a 7th grader, or going into 7th grade, going into 6th grade, and going into 3rd grade. So, I’m really excited about moving up, becoming part of the community, working with the parents and the staff, and getting to know everybody better – everybody has been so kind the times I’ve been up here, and it’s really nice.

“So, I’m finishing my 22nd year in education. I’ve worked in Virginia Beach since I was a sub. I started subbing, taught elementary education, 2nd and 3rd grade. I became, down there, the computer resource specialist, which then turned into an IT/RT type of position. I have my CT-SDE endorsement through James Madison, I have my admin certification through Longwood. I’m currently working on my STEM certification. I’m starting my last class this year, so I’m a big proponent of continuous learning. I’ve done everything in Virginia Beach under the sun, from subbing to special ed pieces, to STEM to pretty much every kind of hat you can wear the past several years in my previous experiences.”

Although the vote to approve was unanimous, Board member Joe Neil commented afterwards, that while he had no qualms about the chosen candidate, he did have issues with the process, which he felt needed to be addressed in future situations. He did not specify what those issues were.

In his superintendent’s update, Charles Winkler reported that the 8th and 11th grade students had scored in the upper 90 percentile in their writing testing, which was unofficially highest in the state. He also reported that, due to rising costs, the planned HVAC improvements, which are dependent upon grant funding, would have to be scaled back to boiler replacement and refurbishment of the current system and building envelope – total air conditioning improvements are not possible. He also told the Board the results of some research the Board had requested on the post school activities of recent graduates. Out of the 72 students who have graduated in the last 5 years, 36% went on to four year colleges, 25% to a 2 year school, 4% to the military, and 35% went into the workforce.

Mr. Winkler’s last day as interim superintendent will be May 30th, and he indicated he hoped a new superintendent would be named before he Board’s next regular meeting on June 9th.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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