Superintendent’s Weekly Check-in, July 27

Superintendent Matthew HaasDear Colleagues:

A thought for next week: “Love is at the root of everything—all learning, all relationships—love, or the lack of it.” — Fred Rogers

Good morning, everyone! I hope you have had a fine week.

I recently had a conversation with one of our most experienced teachers in the school division, Tom Buglia. Tom, an educator at AHS for 27 years, was attending the CoderDojo session at Agnor-Hurt as a fellow. I was telling Tom about a book I’ve been reading, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, by Zaretta Hammond. He asked me to send him a copy.

The reason the book came up is because I know Tom was an airplane mechanic in the Air Force for 20 years before becoming a CTE teacher, and when I introduced Tom to Gene Osborn from LEAD, Gene told Tom that his father had been an airplane mechanic as well. I thought about that instant connection between two people who seemingly do not have a lot in common and how it relates to our ability to quickly build relationships with our students by letting them know early on who we are and what our cultural background is.

Tom is an amazing person with a storied past that is so connected to his work to encourage students in his pathway. Telling them more about his background at the outset of his time with them is really critical to their relationship and engagement with him. For students, to know Mr. Buglia is truly to want to be like him, and why not?

I would say the same for all of our educators. You have a story to tell about who you are and how you came to be with your students as their teacher, and they want to emulate you. You are a success story; your students want to know how to succeed. A second grader at one of my listening tour sessions last week told Dr. Hairston that he likes good teachers, and he defined a good teacher as one who shares his or her background (I’m paraphrasing).

Just a heads up that I have another listening tour community session next week at 6 p.m. at Western Albemarle High School on Tuesday, July 31.

One final note: A school counselor is available to offer advice to students at crucial turning points in their lives. School counselors have a real interest in helping students learn and grow. They foster an environment for students to find their path to a successful adult life.

Just checking in,


Matthew S. Haas, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Your mission and my mission every day is to establish a community of learners and learning, through relationships, relevance and rigor, one student at a time.