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New RRES principal, Nelson schools' administration official named

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Crystal Choate

Crystal Choate has been promoted from Rockfish River Elementary School Principal to division supervisor of human resources and communications.

Nelson County Public Schools announced June 17 that Rockfish River Elementary School Assistant Principal Jody Coffey will be promoted to the principal role effective July 1.

The news followed another announcement: Current RRES principal Crystal Choate is being appointed as the new supervisor of human resources and communications for the division.

According to an NCPS post on social media, Coffey earned a bachelor’s of science from Bridgewater College and a master’s of education in administration and supervision from Shenandoah University. She worked as a classroom teacher in Augusta County for 12 years before serving as RRES assistant principal for four years.

“I am extremely honored and excited about becoming the next principal at Rockfish River Elementary School,” Coffey said in an email June 20.

She thanked Choate for the leadership experience Choate provided when she worked as her assistant.

“I feel incredibly blessed to be a Rockfish River Eagle. The Rockfish River students, families, staff and community are amazing and I look forward to working with all of them to provide our students with a rich learning environment guided with love and support,” Coffey continued.

According to NCPS, Choate earned a bachelor’s in political science and public administration from James Madison University. She attained her teaching licensure from Mary Baldwin College and earned a master’s of education in supervision and administration from Shenandoah University. She worked as an elementary classroom teacher in Waynesboro and Augusta and has served as assistant principal and principal at RRES for 10 years.

“It has been a true honor to serve the Rockfish River Elementary School students, staff and community as an administrator for the past ten years,” Choate said in an email.

“As a school leader, I have consistently strived to do what’s best for our students every day — how to best meet their academic, social and emotional needs while preparing them for the next step in their academic journey.”

Choate thanked staff, families, community members and the school board for their support: “The saying is accurate that it ‘takes a village’ to raise our children — it has been a collaborative effort to which many stakeholders deserve credit.”

Choate said she was excited for the new role and explained one of her new responsibilities will be addressing employee turnover and strengthening recruitment efforts, “knowing that our human resources are our most valuable tools in providing our students with an excellent education.”

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