By Taylor Boyd
Hope Perry will take over the helm as the new principal of Patrick County High School (PCHS). While her start date is currently unknown, Perry believes she will begin the new position by July 1.
Perry, 49, said she decided to accept the position because she felt that she had to act on what she preaches to those around her.
“I feel like I have to act on whatever I preach to my kids and my teachers. I always encourage my students to do their best and never stop trying, and if I didn’t accept this position or at least try then I’m kind of hypocritical for what I believe,” she said.
Perry said she believes the biggest challenge she will face is getting acquainted with PCHS’s system.
“I have been out of high school education for the last six years, so I know that I’m going to have just a lot of questions being an administrator at the high school level,” she said.
Because she knows that she will have questions and need time to adjust to the new role, Perry said she is thankful that she will have the administrative team at the high school to advise and guide her.
“If I have questions I’m going to ask, and if I don’t know I’m going to say that I don’t know. I’m not ashamed of not knowing something,” she said.
She also will focus on familiarizing herself with the credits required for students to graduate because that also has changed since she taught at the high school level.
Perry said she’ll also look at the scheduling to make sure there are enough classes to accommodate all the students and their academic needs.
“You know, we don’t want to put square pegs in round holes,” she added.
As many former students return to the community to work and live, Perry said preserving the vibrance of the community and the family culture is one of her major goals. She noted that this can be accomplished by helping guide students and their families to what is best for them so they will lead happy, productive adult lives.
“It’s really important to me to help the teachers, staff, everyone in that building to pull together like a family, and then guide these students for their best whatever that is – whether it’s college, military, workforce, or vocation,” she said.
Short-term goals including discussions with staff to identify major needs, Perry said. She also hopes to get opinions from graduates, as well as those who are getting ready to graduate.
Looking at implementing parts of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and examining data on how many former students return to Patrick County to live are among her long-term goals. Because of how important relationships between teachers and students are, Perry said she would like to follow students from elementary through high school by assigning each student an adult at PCHS as part of SEL.
“So that they know no matter what their situation is at home, they have a person in that building. It doesn’t matter if it’s a teacher, an administrator, a person who works in the cafeteria. I think that would be instrumental to know that you have a trusted adult at Patrick County High School that’s going to be with you from day one until the day you walk across that stage to get that diploma,” she said.
Perry added that she wanted to track the data “to see if we’re really giving them what they need, and if we’re preparing them with the skills they need.”
Her most rewarding moments as an educator come from developing friendships and mentorships with her students and being able to partake in the big, intimate moments with them.
“Just to have those moments shared with me, even though I wasn’t a family member, but just to watch their lives unfold as adults” are precious memories, she said.
Perry has been married to her husband, Jason Perry, for 27 years. The couple have two children – Nathan, 22, who plays minor league baseball for the Houston Astros and Sadie, 17, a senior at Magna Vista High School.
Perry graduated from Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC) with her Associates degree and from Averett University with a degree in Math. She has her M.A. from Radford University in Curriculum Instruction and an Administration and Supervision License from James Madison University (JMU).
She started her career as a math teacher at Magna Vista High School before leaving education for five years to work for the Martinsville Speedway. She then taught high school level math at PCHS for eight years before moving to Bassett High School to teach math for three more years. She then worked as the Curriculum Coordinator for Secondary Math and Science for Henry County Public Schools for three years before becoming an administrator at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School, where she has worked for the last three years.
In her spare time Perry enjoys watching baseball, being outside in her barn, and spending time with her family.