Chesapeake schools get a new boss

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Chesapeake Public Schools have a new boss in town.

Dr. Jared Cotton

During the regular meeting Monday night, the school board appointed Dr. Jared Cotton to serve as the new superintendent.

The former superintendent, Dr. James Roberts, is retiring in June.

The Great Bridge High School graduate says it’s good to come back home.

“I started by career here,” said Cotton “I am going to take it to the next level. This is a school division that already has so many great things going on so I’m looking forward to coming home to a community that nurtured me.”

He is currently the superintendent for Henry County Public Schools and was just named the Virginia State Superintendent of the Year.

Dr. Cotton has 25 years of experience in education and starts this July.

Below is information sent out by the Chesapeake School Officials:

Dr. Cotton is a proud graduate of Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake and started his twenty-five year career in education as a 5th grade teacher at Crestwood Intermediate School, where he once attended as an elementary student. He later served in various roles throughout the division to include Instructional Technology Specialist, Summer School Coordinator for the Chesapeake Career Center (formerly known as the Center for Science and Technology), Assistant Principal at both Hickory Middle School and E. W. Chittum Elementary School, Principal at G. A. Treakle Elementary School, and Director of Assessment and Accountability.

Dr. Cotton currently serves as the Superintendent for Henry County Public Schools in Virginia, and was recently named the 2019 Virginia State Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. He has served Henry County Public Schools since January 2012. Prior to this role, he served for more than six years as the Associate Superintendent for Educational Leadership and Assessment for Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

Dr. Cotton has a bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education from Old Dominion University, a master’s degree in Educational Administration from The George Washington University, and received his doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from The George Washington University in 2003.

Dr. Cotton has a strong background in strategic planning and curriculum and instruction. Through his collaborative leadership style, he was the lead administrator for the nationally recognized strategic plan, Compass to 2015, in place during his tenure with Virginia Beach City Public Schools. In addition, as Superintendent of Henry County Public Schools, he facilitated revisions to the strategic plan guiding their division. As a result, Henry County Public Schools continues to experience success.

Dr. Cotton believes curriculum and instruction should be the core business of a school system. In that regard, he initiated the development of the current curriculum in use in Henry County, one that focuses on student development and the demonstration of critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and collaboration. This focus has yielded high results in the area of student achievement for Henry County. Dr. Cotton brings skills and abilities to Chesapeake that include a collaborative leadership style; expertise in strategic planning, curriculum, and instruction; and an ability to address critical needs in spite of limited resources.

“Dr. Cotton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Chesapeake Public Schools,” said School Board Chair Mr. C. Jeff Bunn. “He is well-respected throughout the state of Virginia, and started his career many years ago as a classroom teacher right here in Chesapeake. I am very pleased, on behalf of the School Board, to welcome Dr. Cotton back home,” Mr. Bunn added. “The process of hiring a superintendent is one of the School Board’s most important responsibilities, and I am very excited to see what great things Dr. Cotton brings to our school division. I am extremely confident that Dr. Cotton will serve our school division well and the School Board is looking forward to working with him as he assumes this important role.”

Dr. Cotton’s contract will begin on July 16, 2018. However, he plans to make contact with division administrators and staff prior to his official start date. In addition, he plans to collaborate with retiring Superintendent, Dr. James T. Roberts, to ensure a smooth transition.

“I am looking forward to working closely with the Chesapeake community to further enhance the educational programs and opportunities for students. I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to return to Chesapeake and support the high-quality educational system that is already in place,” said Dr. Cotton.

When Dr. Cotton officially starts work, he will meet with various stakeholder groups and visit all schools to become reacquainted with the school division. “Several groups have a vested interest in the quality of the educational program offered in Chesapeake. I am looking forward to spending time learning as much as I can about the great successes in the school system and ways that we can work together to support our continued growth and success,” said Dr. Cotton.

Dr. Cotton and his wife, Joanna, are looking forward to returning to Hampton Roads. They have two grown children, William and Michaela. “It is an honor to return to Chesapeake to give back to the community that nurtured my development as a student, educator, and administrator,” added Dr. Cotton. “I’m looking forward to getting started!”