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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Principal Butler wants teachers to stress teamwork

Brian Butler poses with twins Sophia (left) and Liliana Reyes, first-graders at Belvedere Elementary School, who will attend the new school next fall.
Brian Butler, the newly appointed principal of the elementary school under construction in Annandale on the site of the old Lacey center, told parents he wants to hire teachers who can work in teams and collaborate with one another. There will be “no teacher in isolation,” he says. “Everyone works together.”

He believes “any kid should be able to walk into the school and go to any classroom and feel comfortable with every teacher.”

Butler met with parents at Annandale Terrace Elementary School Tuesday evening. There’s another meeting with Butler scheduled for Woodburn Elementary, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. The new school will draw students from those schools, along with Beech Tree and Belvedere elementary schools. The school is expected to be completed in March or April and will open in September. Butler would like to bring students to the school before the end of the school year for a tour and orientation.

“Your job is to hold me accountable,” Butler told parents. “We’re going to be very transparent,” he said, promising to share failures, as well as success stories, with parents and the community. “When we’re not successful, we’re not going to make excuses; we’ll look for how we can do a better job.”

Butler has been the principal at Mount Eagle ElementarySchool in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County since 2006, where he oversaw a major renovation project. Before that he was an assistant principal, teacher, and counselorand a professional basketball player in Europe. (He’s 6'4.")

Butler says he loved working at Mount Eagle, but “it’s time to find a place for me I love even more.”

His new job starts Jan. 3. The first person he’ll hire is an administrative finance person, he says, and hopes to hire a building manager and assistant principal by April 1. He collected names and phone numbers of the parents at the meeting and promised to call them to discuss their vision for the new school. Parents have already starting forming a PTA.

School board member Sandy Evans plans to start working on a process for getting input from parents and community members on a name for the school. The Broyhill Crest neighborhood, where the school is located, is pushing for it to be named Masonville, which was the name of the original elementary school on that site. Fairfax County elementary schools usually have historically or geographically based names.

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