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MLWGS Appoints Interim Director

Maggie Walker's new interim director Dr. Jonathan Lewis. Photo Courtesy of the Fauquier Daily.

Maggie Walker's new interim director Dr. Jonathan Lewis. Photo Courtesy of the Fauquier Daily.

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Maggie Walker’s Regional School Board appointed Dr. Jonathan Lewis as its new interim director on October 20th, setting him up to serve as a temporary replacement for Dr. Jeff McGee upon his retirement in November. The Jabberwock reached out to our new interim director, Dr. Jonathan Lewis, and asked him a couple of questions about his upcoming tenure as director. Dr. Lewis previously served as superintendent of the Richmond, Fauquier County, and Poquoson school systems, before retiring in 2014. After his career in academia, he went back to University of Richmond to become a Certified Massage Therapist, and founded the massage business he currently owns and operates. This conversation has been edited for clarity.

 

JABBERWOCK: So, let me get right into it. What unique aspect can you bring to the school’s culture? For example, your personality, mindset, a particular skillset.

LEWIS: First, I am very excited and honored to have the opportunity to be interim director at MLWGS. Regarding my personality/background, I have had many experiences in education as teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent, and each has added to my perspective on teaching and learning.  I hold a strong belief in the importance of a liberal arts education.  At school I rely heavily on the participation and engagement of students and staff in day-to-day school life.  I am a good listener.

 

JABBERWOCK: We’re a diverse, multicultural, and intellectual school that enjoys freedoms and responsibilities beyond that of a typical school—would you safeguard those freedoms?

LEWIS: Regarding the safeguarding of intellectual freedom, I have always supported and defended intellectual freedom and feel everyone should be able to think and speak freely.  The open exchange of ideas in a safe and respectful environment is fundamental to any successful learning community.

 

JABBERWOCK: Our school also has deficits which should be rectified—what changes would you propose?

LEWIS: While I am sure MLWGS has deficits, as all schools do, it is much too soon for me to speak to that issue.  I plan to take time to listen to students, parents, and staff before arriving at any conclusions.  While I may be in a position to facilitate change during my brief tenure, in the near future a new director will be joining the MLWGS community, and my role will be to help facilitate his or her success.  If that involves bringing some change to the school, I will welcome the opportunity.

 

JABBERWOCK: Hitherto what has been the most rewarding part of your academic career?

LEWIS: The most rewarding part of my work through the years has been my focus on bringing positive change and improving teaching and learning and quality of life for families, students and staff at the school divisions and schools where I have worked.  I anticipate that I will find my time at Maggie Walker equally rewarding.

 

JABBERWOCK: What are you most excited about at Maggie Walker?

LEWIS: I am looking forward to my time at MLWGS.  I am excited about meeting students and staff and becoming a part of such a respected and important school.  I am particularly energized by the prospect of being in such an intellectually stimulating academic environment, particularly one, as you mentioned, where intellectual freedom and discovery are so highly valued.  I have grown personally and professionally from experiences such as this, and I imagine there will be much to learn during my time at Maggie Walker.

 

JABBERWOCK: What sort of role will you play in the process to select our permanent director?

LEWIS: While I know the board of directors will have many challenges as it looks for a new school director, it is unlikely that I will play a role in that process.  There will be many outstanding candidates for the job, and deciding which the best fit is is always difficult.  Interim directors are not typically involved in the selection of new school leaders; however, I would be delighted to assist the board in any way if the request is made.

 

JABBERWOCK: Thank you for your time.

LEWIS: Thanks again for your interest.

 

Once Mr. Lewis becomes more familiar with the unique problems of the school, the Jabberwock will interview him once again. If you have any queries for Mr. Lewis regarding specific issues at Maggie Walker, please email [email protected]

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