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Henry County superintendent named Virginia Superintendent of the Year


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HENRY Co., Va. (WSET) -- Henry County's superintendent has been named Virginia's superintendent of the year.

He was selected by the Acting State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a member of the Virginia State Board of Education, and the Presidents of the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia Parent and Teacher Association, the Virginia School Boards Association, the Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, and the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals.

The Virginia Association of School Superintendents said by providing for his students' basic needs of food, clothing, and social and emotional welfare, and giving them academic opportunities that they would not otherwise have in their community, he's inspired students.

"[Dr. Cotton's] leadership skills in communicating with parents and the public and his ability to forge partnerships with community organizations have allowed him to mobilize critical support for his students and engender in them the belief that they can be successful.

They said that Dr. Cotton helped close the performance gap between disadvantaged students and their peers.

It's also led to the elementary school to be fully accredited and he's significantly increased the school division's graduation rate.

"Dr. Cotton has long been considered among Virginia educators and policymakers as a leader in the development and use of balanced assessments," they wrote.

He's guided the school system to using a more project-oriented and performance-based assessments that show how his students have grown are are more prepared for the future.

Henry County Public Schools is the first in the state to house two new tech academies, which are part of a national network of schools that promote project-oriented teaching and learning.

"Jared Cotton’s name has become synonymous with innovative leadership in education in Virginia," VASS Executive Director, Ben Kiser said. "He has implemented new approaches to teaching and learning in the Virginia school divisions he has led and as a result his students and staff members have demonstrated significant growth."

Dr. Cotton started his administrative career in public education as an assistant principal in Chesapeake, a principal and director of assessment and accountability in Chesapeake, assistant superintendent for research, evaluation, and assessment in Virginia Beach, and then he was appointed to Henry County's Superintendent in 2012.

As Virginia's Superintendent of the Year Dr. Cotton will be eligible for the National Superintendent of the Year Award, which will be presented next February in Los Angeles, Ca.

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