All Goochland Schools Recognized as Apple Distinguished Schools for Innovation with Technology

Today all students in grades K through 12 in Goochland County Public Schools use iPad and MacBook Air in a one-to-one learning environment.  Once again, Goochland’s schools have been recognized as Apple Distinguished Schools. Byrd Elementary, Goochland Elementary, Randolph Elementary, Goochland Middle, and Goochland High School have all been designated as Apple Distinguished Schools for 2019-2021.

Schools receiving this designation have an established one-to-one program, distinguished by innovative use of technology in the hands of students to promote engaging learning experiences. Distinguished schools have faculty that demonstrate proficiency with technology, and school leaders articulate a vision for how technology can promote student success, with results toward established instructional goals.

All five schools created teams during the 2018-19 school year to author original multitouch, multimedia books that showcase their journey with 1:1 devices in the hands of students. These books became part of the application process to be recognized as an Apple Distinguished School. (To see a preview of these books, visit the school division’s instructional technology blog at

According to Apple’s website (, there are fewer than 500 Apple Distinguished Schools worldwide, and the program is represented by schools in over thirty countries. “More than anything else, this recognizes the hard work and dedication of our teachers, our administrators, our technology department, and our school board to provide the support students need for their future work and civic engagement,” says superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley.

“The app environment, the quality of hardware, and the mobility of iPad is a great match toward our goals with deeper learning here in Goochland,” remarks director of innovation and strategy, Dr. John Hendron. “And in high school, students continue their technology journey with a MacBook that provides portability and all-day battery life. Students are able to use industry-leading  tools in our specialty programs such as digital graphics, digital imaging, and computer-aided design.”

Goochland’s technology department is headed by Peter Martin, who leads a team of five to manage all of the division’s one-to-one devices for staff and students, network, phone infrastructure, school security investment, and student data management. “One of the reasons we use Apple technology in our schools is that we can manage an entire fleet of devices with a small team. As an Apple Distinguished School, we also benefit from being part of a community that shares best practices in using technology and can connect with other schools and education experts to further develop our team.”

Goochland was first recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program in 2015.

Goochland High Student Named Finalist for the VRLTA State Culinary Student of the Year

P R E S S   R E L E A S E

Date: October 8, 2019 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Dr. Andrew R. Armstrong, Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations  | (804) 332 0965  | @glndschools

Goochland High senior Jalyn Burns has been named one of three finalists for the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, and Travel Association (VRLTA) state culinary student of the year.  Jalyn is recognized as a finalist for the “Rising Pineapple Award” for Outstanding Hospitality and Tourism Student of the Year, part of the Ordinary Awards program administered by the VRLTA.  The Ordinary Awards celebrate and honor all of Virginia’s restaurants, lodging establishments and hotels, DMOs, attractions, and more. The Awards are open to both members and non-members of the Association.

Jalyn was nominated for this honor because of her performance at the Virginia State SKILLS USA competition in April, her leadership as president of the Goochland SKILLS chapter, her participation in the NASA HUNCH competition to design meals for the international space station, her work at both Salisbury Country Club and Drive Shack, and her GHS senior project:  a “pop-up” dinner at Goochland Tech to benefit Sickle Cell Anemia research.

Goochland High culinary teacher Mr. David Booth has witnessed Jalyn’s performance in and out of class and her recognition does not surprise him.  “Jalyn exemplifies what hard work and determination can do.  Her efforts over the last four years have produced amazing results, and have propelled both her and the culinary program to new levels.  I am proud of the drive she has shown, and it has inspired me to be a better teacher.”

Jalyn will be honored at the VRLTA Awards dinner on October 10 at the Short Pump Hilton.


Goochland High School Receives National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award

Date: September 3, 2019 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Dr. Andrew R. Armstrong, Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations  | (804) 332 0965  | @glndschools |

Goochland High School is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School award.  The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports and reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.  Ms. Melissa Black, Goochland High School Athletic Trainer, has led the efforts of the Goochland High School staff to achieve this recognition.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from NATA,” said Ms. Black. “I feel strongly that all high schools should have a full-time Athletic Trainer on staff, and I am proud of Goochland County Public Schools for seeing the importance of this 20 years ago when they hired me. The safety of our student-athletes is our top priority.”

“The health and safety of student-athletes is critical as it has both immediate and long-term effects,” said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC. “NATA created the ‘Safe Sports School Award’ to recognize and champion schools nationwide that are committed to enhancing safety in sports. We are proud to see the list of award recipients grow exponentially each year as schools see the immense value in holding themselves to best practices and policies that ensure a high standard of athlete care.”

In order to achieve Safe Sports School status,  athletic programs must:

  • Create a positive athletic health care administrative system
  • Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations
  • Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
  • Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
  • Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured     athletes
  • Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
  • Provide or facilitate injury intervention
  • Create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
  • Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
  • Be sure athletes and parents are educated about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities 

To apply, schools complete an in-depth questionnaire that assesses adherence to best practice standards and recommendations. For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, please visit

Goochland County Public Schools Recognizes Top Teachers and Staff at the 2019 Evening of Excellence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Goochland, VA – May 8, 2019

Contact: Dr. Andrew R. Armstrong, Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations  |  (804) 332 0965  |  @glndschools

On Tuesday, May 7, Goochland County Public Schools held its third Celebration of Excellence at the Central High School Cultural and Educational Center to recognize 2019 retirees, Teacher of the Year, Employee of the Year, Team of the Year, Rookie of the Year , and Volunteer of the Year.  The Celebration of Excellence featured food prepared and served by Goochland High Culinary Arts students and GCPS Food Service, and plaques were made by our GCPS Career and Technical Education Department.  The Goochland Education Foundation joined Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley in presenting awards to the evening’s distinguished recipients:

  • Cindy Shelton-Eide, Goochland High Teacher of the Year
  • Glenn Hecker, Goochland Middle Teacher of the Year
  • Cheryl Johnston, Byrd Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Stacey Wilson, Randolph Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Sara DeLong, Goochland Elementary Teacher of the Year

 Ms. Cindy Shelton-Eide, fine arts teacher at Goochland High School, was selected as the Goochland County Public Schools 2019 Teacher of the Year.  She will be considered with teachers from across the Commonwealth for the honor of being the 2019 Mary Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year.

The GCPS Employee of the Year is Byrd Elementary Head Custodian Ms. Connie Brice, pictured below with family and School Board representative Mrs. Karen Horn.


The GCPS Team of the Year is the GCPS Instructional Coaches, Ms. Anne Keo and Ms. Christina Whitfield.


The Rookie of the Year is Ms. Annie Desmarais, science teacher from Goochland High School.

GCPS Volunteer of the Year is Mrs. Susan Doczi, for her service in all our schools, especially at Goochland High School.

Goochland Public Schools also recognized its 2019 retirees, Ms. Beverly Cooley, Ms. Edie Flaig, and Ms. Cheri Wolff.  These three educators account for decades of service on behalf of students in Goochland County.



Goochland County Public Schools and Special Guests Recognize Goochland CTE and Military Signees

On Friday, May 3, 7th Congressional District Representative Abigail Spanberger and Virginia Delegate John McGuire of the 56th District joined Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent, Mr. Bruce Watson, Director of Career and Technical Education, Mr. Michael Payne and Mrs.  Karen Horn of the Goochland County School Board, and community business and military representatives to recognize Goochland High Class of 2019 seniors who are transitioning directly into the workforce and the military, as well as underclassmen pursuing internship opportunities in the year ahead.

Among the destinations for GHS seniors are Liesfield Construction,  Sargent Corporation, Culinary Institute of America, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, and United States Air Force.

Representative Spanberger and Delegate McGuire provided remarks and congratulated the students individually as each was recognized. Mr. Bruce Watson and Lt. Col. Kevin Williams, MCJROTC instructor, listed the individual accomplishments of each student.

“We are so proud of our students and excited that they have taken advantage of our great programming here in GCPS,” said Dr. Christopher Collier, principal of Goochland High School.  “This event has grown so much in only its second year due to the work of our staff and the support of our business partners, School Board, and elected officials.”

Goochland High School and Goochland Technical Center have nurtured a growing MCJROTC program and a variety of CTE programs, including heavy equipment, carpentry, nursing, culinary arts, and veterinary technician programs.  Students from among various academic backgrounds participate in GCPS Career and Technical Education programming.

Goochland County Public Schools Hosts SKILLs USA Virginia Competition

On April 9, GCPS hosted the SKILLs USA competition for Utility/Heavy Equipment Operator students at G Tech.  Goochland heavy equipment students competed against a team from P.D. Pruden Tech Center from Suffolk, Virginia, representing the only two heavy equipment programs in the Commonwealth.  This event was the first contest for this CTE area ever conducted by SKILLs USA in Virginia.




Goochland’s team, representing the more established of the two programs involved,  swept the contest, taking the top three awards. Goochland CTE staff assisted in the design and implementation of the challenges for the competition and were proud to host the first contest and showcase Goochland facilities.

“The Heavy Equipment operator program at G Tech has become a model for other schools to emulate,”, said Mr. Bruce Watson, GCPS Director of Career and Technical Education. “Mr. Verrasto has created an exceptional program and one which brings a great deal of pride to our school system and business community. The graduates of this program are highly recruited by the business community to fill the skills gap that exists locally and nationally. We are grateful for the support of our business partners and RAMCA for supporting this competition and our program.

The heavy equipment competition takes place at the state level, with plans to expand to a national level in the future.


Goochland County Third-Grade Students Celebrate Arbor Day with Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It!

On Friday, April 26, third-graders in all Goochland County schools will gather to celebrate Arbor Day, plant trees and learn about trees at a special outdoor event. The third-grade students are enrolled in Dominion Energy’s environmental education program, Project Plant It!, and have been learning about the benefits of trees to the ecosystem through the educational resources provided by Project Plant It!

The event will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Goochland Elementary School, located at 3150 River Rd. W., Goochland, VA 23063.  Students will rotate through the following learning stations:

  • Planting a redbud tree seedling with a Dominion Energy forester
  • Tasting food items that come from a tree
  • Playing a game about wildlife that finds shelter in trees
  • Testing knowledge about trees & Arbor Day on iPads
  • Assorted other educational activities

This is a rain-or-shine event. If raining, the learning stations will take place inside the school. Representatives from Dominion Energy and Goochland County Public Schools will be on-site for interviews. For more information about Project Plant It!, visit

About Project Plant It!: Project Plant It! is a free environmental education program developed by Dominion Energy to teach children about trees and the environment. The program began in Spring 2007, making Spring 2019 the 13th observance of this award-winning program. From 2007-2019, Dominion Energy has distributed about 570,000 free tree seedlings to children enrolled in the program.

GCPS Programming Recognized in 2019 VSBA Showcase for Success

Date: April 9, 2019 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mr. Andrew R. Armstrong, Executive Director of Business Operations  |  (804) 332 0965  |  @glndschools

Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) has released its 23rd annual VSBA Showcases for Success directory, highlighting successful K-12 programs in Virginia’s public schools. Goochland County Public Schools is one of 56 school divisions from across the Commonwealth that has programs featured in the directory. Programs from Goochland County are:

Advance College Academy

Last May, 24 Goochland High School seniors earned an A.S. in Social Sciences, a full three weeks before high school graduation. Innovative dual enrollment programs such as Advance College Academy (ACA), a partnership with Reynolds Community College and Goochland County Public Schools, are increasingly less rare. What sets Goochland’s ACA apart, however, is the inclusive philosophy we apply to applicant selection.  GCPS has not limited the number of students who may elect to challenge themselves in ACA. This allows us to accept eighth-graders who show potential to be ready for college classes rather than only those who are already standouts. This has motivated students to set high goals for themselves and created opportunity for students who are traditionally underrepresented in other rigorous programs.  According to one of our students, “ACA has provided me with the skills to succeed in college, a job, and life in general.”

For more information on ACA, contact Ms. Raye Rector, Assistant Director of Federal Programs and Gifted Services at  or 804.556.5610.  Read more at GCPS Advance College Academy.

Measuring the Effect of Coaching on Deeper Learning in the Classroom

Goochland Middle School was invited by Apple to attend a research workshop in Sunnyvale, CA in December 2017. We returned in December 2018 to report back on a 1-year research initiative to study the evidence of deeper learning in social studies classrooms and the role the technology coach plays in this pursuit. Students experienced a number of amazing lessons and we proved that quality coaching can result in deeper learning experiences for students.

For more information, contact Dr. John G. Hendron, Director of Innovation & Strategy at or 804.556.5623.  Read more at Coaching for Deeper Learning.

The full VSBA Showcases for Success directory is available at  It includes division-wide programs, as well as those at elementary, middle, and high school levels. The focus of the 2019 VSBA Showcases for Success is Career, College and Life Ready, highlighting diverse programs in Virginia’s public schools that aim to prepare students for whatever pathway they choose after their K-12 education.

For more information about the VSBA Showcases for Success, contact Gina Patterson, VSBA executive director, at or 434-295-8722.

About the Virginia School Boards Association Virginia School Boards Association, a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards, promotes excellence in public education through leadership, advocacy, and services. The Association offers conferences, information, training, and counseling designed to meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s educational leaders.


Goochland High School Senior Develops Scholarship and Music Festival in Memory of Classmate

Laura Grace Snow was a member of the GHS Class of 2019 who battled Juvenile Batten Disease from 3rd Grade until her death in February of 2018.  Despite losing her sight during Elementary School, life was never dark for Laura Grace.  During all of those years she maintained a positive outlook on life that was infectious to everyone with whom she came into contact.

Laura Grace had a profound love for music and never missed an opportunity to perform at school talent shows.  Her favorite artist was Taylor Swift and she could sing along to almost every song.  During Middle School Laura Grace and her family got the opportunity to meet another of her favorite singers, Carrie Underwood, through the Make a Wish Foundation.

Goochland High School Senior, Savannah Slater, has been friends with Laura Grace since they were toddlers playing at Hidden Rock Park while their older brothers played baseball.  Savannah has created a scholarship in memory of Laura Grace as her GHS senior project.  She has worked with the Guidance Department, Laura Grace’s Family, and GRASP Representatives to develop this scholarship designed to open the eyes of her fellow students to the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Savannah has chosen to generate funds for this scholarship by creating the Laura Grace Snow Memorial Music Festival.  The Laura Grace Snow Memorial Music Festival will take place on Saturday, March 2nd in the Goochland High School Auditorium beginning at 6 p.m.  Doors will open at 5pm for dinner and to purchase raffle tickets.

The Festival will include stage performances by fellow students, community choirs, and local musicians.  Commemorative T-Shirts will be available for purchase at the festival as well as raffle tickets for some creative gift baskets donated by community members.  Dinner may be purchased from the All-Night-Graduation Committee at the indoor concession stand.

Goochland High Football Earns All-State Honors, Bill Dudley Foundation Scholarship

P R E S S   R E L E A S E

Date: December 27, 2018 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Dr. Andrew R. Armstrong, Executive Director of Business Operations  |@glndschools|

The Goochland High School football team, led by first year head coach Alex Fruth, compiled a 14-1 record and a trip to the VHSL Class 2 state finals. The team received numerous accolades, including several players named to the VHSL Class 2 All-State Football Teams.

The All-State First Team included 6 Goochland High players. Center Justin Hawk, offensive lineman Connor Duncan, defensive lineman Jamal Carter, linebacker Sam Brooks, defensive back Devin McCray, and defensive all-purpose player Kindrick Braxton were all named to the First Team.  Kicker Jacob Hayward was named to the All-State Second Team.  A total of 32 players were chosen to each All-State team from across the Commonwealth.  Each All-State selection committee is composed of eight football coaches, representing each of the four VHSL regions.

Goochland senior Sam Brooks was recognized as the 2018 winner of the Bill Dudley Foundation Scholarship, awarded at the Dudley Award ceremony sponsored by the Touchdown Club of Richmond.  The Bill Dudley Foundation Scholarship is awarded to the top scholar football player in the Metro Richmond area.  Sam was honored with the top collegiate football players in the Commonwealth at the Dudley Award ceremony.

Pictured: Sam Brooks receives the 2019 Bill Dudley Foundation Scholarship

The $5000 scholarship goes to the player that best distinguishes himself in the areas of academic performance, extracurricular activities, community service, and athletic performance.  Sam is the second Bulldog selected for the prestigious award in the past four years. Current Richmond Spider Reid Chenault won the award in 2015.