Two Goochland Schools Receive 2017 Virginia Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Awards

Date:  August 8, 2017 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

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

Two Goochland Schools Receive 2017 Virginia Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Awards

Today, Governor Terry McAuliffe and the state Board of Education announced that 386 schools and 17 school divisions earned 2017 Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) awards for advancing learning and achievement.  The VIP incentive program recognizes schools and divisions that exceed state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the governor and board.

231 schools from among the over 1,800 schools in Virginia were recognized with Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Awards, and both Byrd Elementary and Goochland Elementary were recognized as recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award.

Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley was excited but not surprised by Byrd and Goochland’s recognition.  “Having seen the tremendous work of our staff and support of our community at both Byrd and Goochland Elementaries, it is great to see our Board of Education and Governor recognize the efforts at these schools.  We will continue to aim for more than the minimum everywhere in Goochland County Public Schools”.  

The Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award was earned by 231 schools that met all state and federal benchmarks and made progress toward the goals of the governor and the board.

“School success is based on student success and each of these awards highlights a school or school division where young Virginians are being well prepared for the challenges ahead,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said.

More information about the VIP incentive program for schools and school divisions is available on the VDOE website:

Goochland County Public Schools Ranks Among Top 10 Virginia Divisions for Special Education Outcomes

July 24, 2017

Each year all Virginia school divisions are required to submit data to the Virginia Department of Education in order to assess outcomes for students receiving special education services.  These outcomes include the division’s degree of compliance with applicable laws and regulations as dictated by IDEA, the division’s timely corrections to any previously noted compliance issues, and thorough and efficient submission of data required by VDOE and federal law.  Each division’s performance across these dimensions results in the Annual Performance Report (APR) for both the state and each school division.  

This year, Goochland County Public Schools ranked 10 out of 132 divisions in the Commonwealth based on data from the Annual Performance Report.  This represents an improvement from 13 out of 132 at the last report.  

Mrs. Jennifer Waggener, GCPS Director of Exceptional Education, attributes Goochland’s distinction to the collaborative efforts of staff and parents.  “Our exceptional education teachers  and staff are on the front lines of providing all of our students with both instruction that is tailored to their individual needs and goals and regular maintenance and communication with families, students, and staff to ensure compliance.  Our work in our buildings, combined with the regular feedback we receive from our Special Education Advisory Council, has created a culture of continuous improvement for our students with disabilities”.  

Goochland County Public Schools provides a variety of services to students with disabilities across all levels.  Learn more about our programming at and learn about the VDOE Annual Performance Report at .

GHS Students Take Part in Distinguished Summer Learning Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Goochland, VA – May 17, 2017

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

Goochland Students Take Part in Distinguished Summer Learning Programs in Virginia and Beyond

Goochland County Public Schools provides many opportunities and programming options to all students.  For GCPS gifted and high ability students, Summer Residential Governor’s Schools represent a special opportunity to extend learning with students of similar interests from across the Commonwealth.  This Virginia Department of Education program provides rising juniors and seniors with intensive educational experiences in visual and performing arts, humanities, mathematics, science, and technology, or through mentorships in marine science, medicine and health sciences, or engineering. Students apply to these highly selective programs and are considered among hundreds of applicants from across Virginia.  If accepted to a summer Governor’s School, the student lives on a college or university campus for up to four weeks in the summer.  Students are involved in classroom and lab work, field studies, research, performances, and seminars with noted scholars, visiting artists and other professionals.  

Two students from Goochland High School have been accepted to summer residential Governor’s Schools.  Sydney Meiller is a rising junior and will be attending the Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts to be held at Radford University.  Sydney has been recognized for her performance in several school productions, and is also a student in the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School, one of two academic-year Governor’s School programs available to GHS students.  Bryce Russell, a rising senior, was accepted to the highly competitive Governor’s School for Math, Science and Technology to be held at Lynchburg College this summer.  Bryce participates in the Advance College Academy program at GHS and will complete an associate degree while still a senior in high school.

Rising senior Chloe Lyda will participate for the third year at the Brown University Pre-College Summer Program held at Brown University, an Ivy League institution located in Providence, Rhode Island.  Chloe was awarded a full scholarship to participate in the program and will take a two week-long intensive English course, a subject of particular interest for her.  She will live on the campus of Brown during her study.  Chloe is a student in the GCPS Advance College Academy program, is active in student government, and is currently the student representative to the Goochland County School Board.

For more information about any of the programs mentioned, please contact Raye Rector, Coordinator of Gifted and Federal Programs, at or 804.556.5610.




GCPS Leaders “Shadow a Student”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Goochland, VA – May 15 , 2017

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

GCPS Leaders Take Time to “Shadow a Student” in 2017

            This spring Goochland County Public Schools leadership answered the call to “Shadow a Student”, with twelve senior leaders taking a day to walk in the steps of our students throughout the division. The “Shadow a Student Challenge” was developed by the School Retool initiative, a professional development fellowship that “helps school leaders redesign their school culture” toward cultures of deeper learning through creating a community of change (

GCPS leaders, including Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. Steve Geyer, and members of senior leadership from operations, instructional technology, finance, CTE, and exceptional education were paired with a student for a day as partners and observers. Staff members rode the bus to school with students, ate lunch, sat in on classes, and discussed the student experience.

Mrs. Debbie White, Director of Finance, spent the day at the Goochland Elementary Preschool Program. “After boarding the bus at Byrd Elementary at 7:45, I spent the day watching the teaching staff work tirelessly to engage each child with their very unique needs and observing how much they cared about each child. The adults were quick to cover for each other whenever it was needed to meet those needs. It is difficult to comprehend just how much work is done for our students unless you walk in their shoes”, she said.

Mr. Andy Armstrong, Executive Director of Business Operations, described his day at Randolph Elementary. “In my 13 years as an administrator, I have spent a lot of time making 30 minute observations, meeting with staff, talking about teaching, and engaging with students, but nothing compares to seeing things from the student perspective the way I did as a shadow”.

GCPS leaders who participated in the Shadow a Student challenge debriefed about their experiences and continue to integrate their observations into planning for continued deeper learning in Goochland classrooms as defined by School Retool: mastering rigorous academic content, learning how to think critically and solve problems, working collaboratively, communicating effectively, directing one’s own learning, and developing an academic mindset — a belief in one’s ability to grow.












Goochland Middle Teacher Recognized as National STEM Ambassador

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Goochland, VA – May 5, 2017

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

Goochland Middle Teacher Recognized as National STEM Ambassador

Mrs. Anne Moore, Goochland Middle School Career and Technical Education Teacher and Robotics Coach, has recently been distinguished with the honor of becoming one of only ten National Science Teachers Association(NSTA)/National Council of Teachers of Mathematics(NCTM) STEM Ambassadors in the United States.  Mrs. Moore, who was previously distinguished as a Presidential Award Winner for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, is a member of the first cadre of STEM ambassadors.  

Her award places her among an elite group of experienced teachers who will advocate on behalf of teachers within policy and research dialogues at the national and local level.  Details on the STEM Ambassador program can be found here:

Mrs. Moore is excited to represent Goochland County Public Schools on a national level.  “I am very honored to have been chosen and appreciate the wonderful work we do in GCPS that supports STEM instruction and development”.  Mrs. Moore will spend several days in Washington, D.C. this summer meeting with federal leaders and training to effectively advocate for STEM education at all levels.

Goochland County Public Schools has become a state leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, incorporating various content areas into growing Career and Technical Education classes that allow students to experience science and mathematics in context with authentic experiences.  Mrs. Moore and her colleagues at Goochland Middle School have integrated authentic learning and STEM into the middle school curriculum through greater collaboration and project based learning.   

GCPS Recognizes Distinguished Employees and Retirees at the “Night of Excellence”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Goochland, VA – May 3, 2017

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

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

On Tuesday, May 2, Goochland County Public Schools held its first “Night of Excellence” at the Goochland High cafeteria to recognize 2017 retirees, Teacher of the Year, and for the first time, the Employee and Team of the Year.  The Night of Excellence featured food prepared and served by Goochland High Culinary Arts students and GCPS Food Service, and music was provided by the Goochland High School Jazz Ensemble.  

The Goochland Education Foundation joined Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley in presenting awards to all of the evening’s distinguished recipients:


  • Mr. Neil Burch, Goochland High Teacher of the Year
  • Mrs. Jennifer Gates, Randolph Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Ms. Katie Gill, Goochland Middle Teacher of the Year
  • Mrs. Sarah Smith, Goochland Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Mrs. Rachel Wiggins, Byrd Elementary Teacher of the Year


Mrs. Jennifer Gates, 4th grade teacher at Randolph Elementary School, was selected as the Goochland County Public Schools 2017 Teacher of the Year.  

The GCPS Employee of the Year is Randolph Elementary Custodian Ms. Nikki Harris.  The GCPS Team of the Year is the Preschool Team, which includes the ECSE and Head Start staff, located at Goochland Elementary.

 Goochland Public Schools retirees Mr. John Dacey, GHS teacher;  Mr. Forrest Henley, Transportation;  Mrs. Martha Wunsh, BES nurse; Ms. Delores Johnson, Custodian; and Mrs. Alva Allen, secretary account for 130 years of experience in public education, with 125 of those years in Goochland County Public Schools.





Goochland County Public Schools Featured in 21st Annual VSBA Showcases for Success Directory

Date: April 18, 2017 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Goochland County Public Schools Featured in 21st Annual VSBA Showcases for Success Directory Goochland, VA – The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) has released its 21st 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 Public Schools are:

Alternate Route to Licensure in Goochland Schools

The path to full licensure for provisionally licensed teachers can be long, time-intensive, and expensive. Goochland County Public Schools created a seminar experience for four CTE teachers and submitted a proposal to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to create an alternative path to licensure.   Once the plan was approved, part one of the plan was implemented in April, and the four teachers met with the instructional team to begin the field practica, professional reading, direct instruction, and collaborative work sessions.   Part two of the program was conducted for five days in June where the teachers engaged in face-to-face instruction and discussions led by experts from within our school system.   The program provided training in human growth and development, curriculum and instruction, instructional design based on data, classroom management, and foundations of education and reading.   

Curriculum and Innovation Teacher Program

GCPS offered four teachers extended contracts to help us develop high-quality, project-based learning experiences for students in grades 3-8 so that their peer teachers could better benefit from having first-class exemplars of PBL that focused on deeper learning.  Deeper learning has been the focus behind our internationally-recognized 1:1 implementation with iPads in grades 3-8. Research has consistently demonstrated that an infusion of new technology without modifications to pedagogy will not deliver increases in student achievement.  By providing teachers a variety of PBL experiences aligned to our own Virginia SOL and the eight standards for high quality project-based learning by the Buck Institute, in combination with professional development and coaching, the work undertaken first in the summer with these teachers is now bringing deeper learning experiences to our students in the elementary and middle-school grades.

Performance Assessment Partnership

Goochland County Public Schools’ Balanced Assessment Project is built on an equilibrium among both assessment purpose (achievement versus growth) and assessment type (traditional versus nontraditional).  Entering the fourth year of our assessment work, we are seeing strong outcomes for students along with positive impacts to day-to-day classroom instruction.  As part of the next evolution of this work, we have established a strong partnership with Chesterfield County Public Schools and Dr. Chris Gareis from William & Mary University in the development of nineteen signature performance assessments that will used K-12 and evaluated cross-divisionally during the 2017-18 school year.  These performance assessments are being developed by teachers and are aimed and measuring “the five Cs” along with content knowledge.  This work represents best practice in terms of the Virginia’s local alternative assessment framework; moreover, it demonstrates one promising approach to providing students, teachers, and parents with a more complete picture of student 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. Featured programs highlight successful programs related to Innovative Programs, School Initiatives, and Partnerships.  For more information about the VSBA Showcases for Success, contact Gina Patterson, VSBA executive director, at or 434-295-8722. ###

Goochland County Public Schools Career Day to Take Place on March 14

Over 70 local and regional businesses will be featured at the 2017 Goochland County Public Schools Career Day on Tuesday, March 14 at Goochland High School between 8:30 and 12:00. Representatives will include various local and national firms and corporations, including CarMax, Capital One, Luck Stone, Carter Equipment, Goochland Animal Clinic, Goochland Fire and EMS, Central Virginia Electrical Contractors Association, Mason & Hanger Architects and Engineers, and more.

The GCPS Career and Technical Education Department has organized this event for four years. All students grades 6 through 12 will have a chance to explore and interact with representatives from a variety of careers.

“This is the largest career fair ever for GCPS. It brings our students-both those who plan to pursue post secondary education and those entering the workforce-exposure to the careers of the 21st century”, said Mr. Bruce Watson, Goochland County Public Schools Director of Career and Technical Education.

This year GCPS will open the Career Fair up to the greater community. Anyone interested can visit Goochland High during the regular career fair hours of 8:30 to noon.

Goochland Public Schools Celebrate Black History Month 2017

The contributions African Americans have made to American history and culture are being celebrated in many ways throughout the month of February (Black History Month) by the students and staff of Goochland County Public Schools. Here are just a few examples:

At Byrd Elementary School, the theme for February is “Recognizing African American Achievements and Contributions”. All classes will select a famous African American who has contributed to the shaping of our country via actions or through literature. The class will learn about this person and will either decorate their door or complete a bulletin board. Students will be given the opportunity to visit all displays in February.

Goochland Elementary School is celebrating Black History Month by creating their ownBlack History Month Artifact Museum”, with each GES class creating an artifact box about a famous African American containing 5-10 important artifacts about the person’s life. Boxes will be on display in the library media center and students will have the opportunity for a “guided” tour of the museum this month.

At Randolph Elementary School, students are creating a digital “Voices of Freedom” quilt illustrating the meaning of a famous quote from an African American in addition to Facebook biography profiles of notable African Americans. Students will complete a STEM engineering project that displays the contributions by African Americans in a creative way. First grade students will work with the librarian to study African American authors and illustrators, and the library will also facilitate a Underground Railroad Ozobot Timeline/Map Project to accompany an interactive Black History Month book display.

At Goochland Middle School, students are “Celebrating, Recognizing and Appreciating the Achievements of African Americans” through a wide variety of activities. In English, students are working to create an “African American Achievement Through the Ages” timeline to be displayed in the library. Social Studies classes are contributing daily historical or current facts to the morning announcements to recognize historical and current achievements of African Americans. Math classes have developed a mathematical representation of the March on Washington, and fine arts classes are celebrating the musical influences of African Americans and studying coil “Kambala” baskets of Angola and Zaire and their use during slavery. In addition, all 6th grade social studies classes are visiting the Second Union Rosenwald School here in Goochland to explore our place in African American history.

Goochland High School is celebrating “American Legacies: An African American Perspective”. GHS will highlight a national or state renown African American each week in February, with students presenting the information on the GHS News twice weekly. A Black History QOD (Question of the Day) will be tweeted daily, with answers and winners being recognized each Friday morning.

To learn more or to visit to see Black History Month celebrations in action, contact your school, or follow @glndschools on Twitter and look for #GCPSblackhistory

Twombly Turns Tragedy Into Hope

On November 11th, 2016 tragedy struck the Twombly family. Brothers Jack and Will, along with their loving father John lost their beloved mother and wife, as she lost her courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Her son, Goochland High School (GHS) Senior Jack Twombly has continued to fight the war against cancer. Twelve weeks later, to the day, Twombly will be taking action to raise awareness and money for pancreatic cancer research.

Every senior at GHS must complete a senior project to walk across the stage at graduation. Projects come in all various shapes and sizes. Twombly’s project has taken the form of a Cancer Awareness week, capped off by Goochland’s second annual “Ballin for a Cure” benefit basketball game on Friday, February 3rd at 7:00pm at Goochland High School.

Twombly says this about how his mother inspired him to action:

“After my Mom passed away from pancreatic cancer in November, we decided upon the idea of getting people to realize how big of an issue cancer is, and wanted to be a part of a big movement. She was a huge inspiration to everyone she knew, and even to some she didn’t, we wanted to honor her with this.”

Indeed, Twombly has made his mother proud. He, along with fellow project organizer A.J. Austin, has organized a color-coded Cancer Awareness week at GHS the week of January 30th through February 3rd, dedicating each day to raising awareness for a different kind of cancer. In just three months since his mother’s passing, Twombly has raised over $800 to fund the purchase of T-Shirts that will be sold to commemorate the event’s purpose of raising awareness and money.

Twombly’s actions off the court are complimented by his eye-popping numbers on the court. He has led the Bulldogs to a 12-5 record, while averaging 15.4 points per game, 11.4 rebounds per game, and 1.5 blocks per game.

This has been a true community effort, with money coming from State Farm Insurance of Goochland, Goochland Pharmacy, Subway of Goochland, Hickory Notch Grill, and Parrish Ford, as well as private donors. GHS is donating half of the ticket sales for the night’s game to the cause, as well. Virginia Commonwealth Basketball head coach, Will Wade, donated a signed ball to be raffled off. Richmond resident and former Vice President for Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Clippers, Kevin Eastman, arranged to have a Chris Paul signed jersey donated, also to raffle off. Many, many people have contributed to this event, which is just one reason why it is so special.

All proceeds from ticket, raffle, and T-shirt sales will be donated to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. That organization’s mission statement is, “a nationwide network of people dedicated to working together to advance research, support patients, and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.”[1]

Mark your calendar: Friday, February 3rd at 7:00pm in the GHS gymnasium. A community effort, a family, a young man, fighting the war against cancer may be the most hopeful thing of all.

Contact: AJ Nash (Teacher sponsor of the project) Goochland High School 3250 River Road West Goochland, VA 23063 Phone: 804-556-5322 ext. 4825