Botetourt County Schools hires new superintendent

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 9:36 AM EDT
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BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - There is a new face at the helm of Botetourt County Public Schools. The school board appointed Dr. Jonathan Russ as the district’s new superintendent Monday morning.

The father of four is currently the deputy superintendent at Fredericksburg City Public Schools. He has roots in Southwest Virginia, growing up in Washington County and getting his doctorate from Virginia Tech.

“I’m a kid-first superintendent and that’s what’s going to drive the decisions we make in this division,” Russ said.

Russ is coming to Botetourt with 29 years of experience, serving in the classroom and in administration within that time.

His appointment comes after the district’s previous superintendent, Dr. Lisa Chen, announced her resignation in April.

Out of 37 applicants, School Board Chair Michelle Crook said Russ was the best choice.

“We weren’t going to make a decision just to meet the deadline We were only going to do it if we had the right candidate. So the stars just aligned and we were able to achieve that timeline and get the candidate that we wanted,” Crook said.

Russ said he is ready to collaborate with faculty and staff and tackle the new challenges the pandemic is presenting school districts.

“I’m not going to come in here and turn this school division on its head because I know there are a lot of good things already happening, but at the same time things that can be improved we are going to work hard and do that too,” Russ said.

Some of the points Russ hopes to focus on during his tenure will be teacher retention and preparing students for vocational careers and higher education.

His first day on the job will be Wednesday, with a swearing-in ceremony at 8:30 a.m.

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