Principal Receives R.E.B. Leadership Award

Elementary School Principal Receives R.E.B. Leadership Award
Posted on 03/26/2021
Lisa ThompsonLisa Thompson, the principal at Washington-Henry Elementary School (WHES), is the Hanover County Public Schools winner of the 2020-21 R.E.B. Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership by The Community Foundation. As a recipient, Thompson will receive a $30,000 grant - a $10,000 unrestricted cash grant and $20,000 to be used to build an outdoor classroom at Washington-Henry.

One principal from each school division in the counties of Hanover, Henrico, and Chesterfield, as well as the City of Richmond, receives the award annually. It serves to recognize principals who “go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment.” The school community and the public submit the nominations.

“I am humbled and excited by this honor. I truly feel this award is recognition of the staff at WHES. Our team of educators are top notch which enables me to do my job with excellence,” said Thompson, who is in her 30th year in education, including the past seven with HCPS. “I am grateful to be part of a school community that is supportive to staff, students and their families.”

Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Michael Mudd, Director of Elementary Education, surprised Thompson with the news of her recognition on Thursday during the morning announcements.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Ms. Thompson, and I am proud of her accomplishment,” Gill said. “She is an innovative leader who has a strong passion for ensuring our students receive relevant and engaging instruction. We are truly fortunate to have someone of her caliber serving our students and community.”

Thompson, a Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond alumna, said her favorite part of being a principal is the students.

“There is a joy you find in young children that is like no other,” she said. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to experience this each day. It energizes me and drives me to be my best at making school a place where they feel loved and accepted.”

Thompson will use the majority of the funding associated with the award to create an outdoor learning space at the school. Students at Washington-Henry and other Hanover schools have spent more time outside this year as part of the coronavirus-induced reimagining of learning spaces.

“What we have learned is this practice has improved the social-emotional health of our students. There is increased student engagement and a reduction in misbehaviors,” she said. “What started as a necessity for health mitigation, has become a non-negotiable for teachers and students. Thus, moving forward, we will create a learning space that meets the needs of our students and staff.”

Thompson will soon meet with students to gather their input on the space, which will be used in the design process in an effort to give students ownership of their learning space. The goal, she said, is to have the space ready for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
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