In the upcoming 2018-2019 academic year, Ward 6 will welcome twice as many new principals to its schools as it did the year previous. A total of six new principals will greet students this August. Four of the principals come to schools in various stages of modernization, including those at Eliot-Hine and Jefferson Middle Schools, Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan, and Maury Elementary. Displaying impressive career and educational credentials, several of these administrators have roots in Capitol Hill and all are eager to keep building relationships in the communities they have joined.
Seaton Elementary School (1503 Tenth St. NW)
Suzanne Peters is a four-year Ward 6 resident who said she feels a “personal connection to the success of the students in our community.” Before becoming Seaton Elementary School’s Assistant Principal in 2015, Peters spent four years teaching at Ross Elementary before becoming the school’s literacy specialist in 2012.
Peters holds a bachelor’s degree from Catholic University, a master’s degree from George Mason University and is working on her Doctorate of Education at Northeastern University.
Peters said that the Seaton philosophy is that educators and the community are responsible for developing the whole child. This means creating an inclusive environment where parents and families feel welcomed and valued, nurtured through frequent engagement as partners in their children’s education through parent-teacher conferences, academic team meetings and student-led conferences.
She said that she will continue the work completed under Principal Kim Jackson, now DCPS Instructional Superintendent.
“My goals as principal are to focus on our students’ social, emotional, and academic development and close the opportunity gap by providing rigorous coursework to all students using data to inform teaching and learning in order to meet the needs of each student,” she said. “I am truly honored by the incredible opportunity to lead a beautifully diverse and inclusive school community at Seaton Elementary School.”
Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan (215 G St. NE)
Kim Adutwum said she is excited to return to Capitol Hill. Previously, as a science teacher at Harriet Tubman Elementary, she spent five years living near the H Street corridor school. Her daughter attended Peabody Elementary School.
Adutwum became principal of JC Nalle Elementary School (219 50 St. NE) in 2007 where she supported Montessori and traditional styles of instruction and used her deep knowledge of curriculum and a child-centered educational approach. She has a bachelor’s degree from Delaware State University. She holds master’s degrees from Trinity University and Georgetown University.
She said that the relationship between the school, parents and the community are her priority. “I have already begun to hold listening sessions with staff and community members to determine what they believe is going well at the school and how we can improve,” she said. “My goals are to provide our students with rigorous and joyful learning experiences aligned with both the Montessori and Common Core curriculum.”
Adutwum said the key to a successful modernization at the school will be open and transparent communication with all stakeholders and a clear understanding as to what the school community is expecting and what the construction company can deliver.
She said that leading a full Montessori School is a dream come true. “I am excited to work alongside dedicated teachers and a thriving and supportive parent community to ensure a safe, nurturing, challenging, and cohesive learning environment for our students.”
Eliot-Hine Middle School (1830 Constitution Ave. NE)
Marlene Magrino moved to the District 15 years ago to continue her teaching career at the Washington Middle School for Girls (1901 Mississippi Ave. SE), rising to campus director before becoming assistant principal at DC Preparatory Academy (100 41 St. NE). She holds a bachelor’s degree from American University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Trinity University.
Magrino has experience overseeing major school construction projects and knows how important the modernization of Eliot-Hine is to the students, staff and community.
“I am excited to engage with our students and families to ensure we have school facilities that meet their needs, both as we transition to and enter our new building in 2020,” she said, adding that she will work to ensure that modernization will not interfere with learning.
Magrino said she is proud to join Eliot-Hine’s engaged and vibrant community and partner with parents and the community to ensure the school reaches its full potential, starting with the principal meet and greets, which she hopes all will attend.
“I believe that Eliot-Hine can be a model middle school with rigorous academic experiences aligned with our International Baccalaureate framework; access to real-world experiences both in and out of the classroom that prepare our students for college and their future careers, exemplified by our Eliot-Hine Network; and an environment where every student, and every member of our community, feels welcomed,” she said.
J.O. Wilson Elementary School (660 K St. NE)
Guye Turner is a native Washingtonian and graduate of Jefferson Middle School and Eastern Senior High School. He began his teaching career 15 years ago as a founding staff member of Two Rivers Public Charter School, then co-housed in Elliot-Hine Middle School.
After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a master’s in teaching (elementary education) from American University, Turner is pleased to return to the Hill.
This shared background allows him to identify with his students. “For me, leading J.O. Wilson is deeply personal because I see myself in the students at the school,” he said. “As a product of urban schools and having worked in that same environment, I understand the importance of creating spaces that are welcoming, joyous, safe, and diverse.”
Turner said he sees consistent family engagement as key to educational success. He takes pride in investing time and effort into ensuring staff, students and families feel like they are part of a supportive, inclusive community.
“I firmly believe principals are responsible for the safe keeping, achievement, and social emotional growth of the students attending their institution of learning,” he said.
“I think I can best articulate my goals by sharing my leadership vision,” Turner said: “To prepare students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and lifelong learners in a rapidly changing global community, embracing the core values of honesty, integrity, character and compassion.”
Helena Payne Chauvenet
Maury Elementary School (1250 Constitution Ave. NE; currently at Eliot-Hine)
Helena Payne Chauvenet remembers spending time in Capitol Hill conducting research as an intern for ABC. “I remember how special it felt to be working in such a historic place,” she recalled, “and I am excited to return in this new role.”
Payne Chauvenet holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and master’s degrees from Harvard University and the University of Virginia. She taught for teacher for 5 years and an assistant principal for 4 years before joining DCPS as Assistant Principal at Janney Elementary School in 2015. During her two years there, the school increased its ELA proficiency by 15 percent, giving it the highest ELA PARCC Score in DCPS.
Payne Chauvenet arrives while Maury is temporarily located at Eliot-Hine and is mindful of the challenges and potentials that come with a school undergoing a physical transformation.
“To address these challenges, I am in regular communication with the various teams involved in the modernization to stay informed and to ensure that every decision related to the building puts our students first,” she said.
“I know it will continue to be a place where our fifth graders look back each year and remember their excellent teachers, engaging and fun learning experiences, and being surrounded by a community that is invested in their success.”
Jefferson Middle School Academy (801 Seventh St. SW)
Andre Samuels began his DCPS career in 2008 as Assistant Principal at Stanton Elementary School. He holds a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from Howard University as well as a third master’s from Georgetown University.
Samuels later became principal at MacFarland Middle School where, in his third year, the school finished with the third highest proficiency gains in the DC CAS in Math and fifth highest in English Language Arts. This was the highest combined performance gain of all middle schools in the District.
“In each of my roles, I have sought to ensure the success of each student and the school, by providing the best instructional opportunities and supports possible for students,” Samuels said.
Samuels said that the he will prioritize student safety and communication with families as the community transitions to a swing space in preparation for the school’s long-awaited modernization.
“I have already toured our learning villas, and the school leadership has been working closely with our District partners to ensure that our time in these villas will not compromise the integrity of the academic and social emotional supports that have made Jefferson a great school,” he said.
Samuels said he is excited to work with the Jefferson community, and to continue Jefferson’s home visits and student-led conferences.
“I am excited to spend more time in this community and continue working with Jefferson Academy’s dedicated leadership team to ensure all students have access to a high-quality education.”