Jamestown Principal Howard Townsend named Outstanding Principal of Virginia

Published On: May 24th, 2023

Williamsburg James City Schools Principal Howard Townsend, IV, has been named the 2023 Outstanding High School Principal of Virginia by a panel of principals and superintendents representing the Principal Awards Committee of the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals (VASSP).

Townsend has been principal at Jamestown High School (JHS) since 2018 after serving six years as an assistant principal – one year at JHS just prior to becoming principal and five years at Lafayette High School. A decisive problem solver, Townsend has led JHS into and through the pandemic, instituting programs to support students and families alike. The JHS Nest is a “house-like” system structured similarly to that at the Ron Clarke Academy where each student belongs to a group or team with a common identity, instrumental in creating a positive culture and fostering school pride. Under Townsend’s leadership, JHS Freshman University was implemented to support incoming high school students – and their families – with the transition to high school.

“Howard has created a strong collaborative culture that is focused on student achievement and success,” said WJCC Schools Superintendent Olwen Herron. “Through leading with integrity, caring, and putting students and instruction first, he has created a family-oriented school climate in which every stakeholder has incredible pride.”

“It is important that the hard work of principals is being noticed and appreciated. Annually, VASSP strives to identify and showcase the best principals across the Commonwealth so we can capture and share their effective practices,” said VASSP Executive Director Randy D. Barrack. “Howard Townsend is a representative of the best principals in the profession. He offers accomplishments and leadership strategies from which educators and leaders can glean valuable insights,” Dr. Barrack said.

Townsend’s leadership extends beyond JHS as the current Chair of Class 4 of the Virginia High School League (VHSL), member of the VHSL Executive Board, and executive committee member of the School University Research Network (SURN) Principals’ Academy board. Townsend will be honored for his accomplishments at the 95th Annual Virginia Middle and High School Principals Conference & Exposition to be held next month in Virginia Beach.

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