Shannon Grimsley tapped as new head of Rappahannock public schools

• Board chooses superintendent from within school system

• Four-year contract to take effect July 1

The Rappahannock County School Board announced this weekend that they have chosen a new superintendent to lead the school district, and they didn’t have to go far.

Shannon Grimsley Linkedin

Shannon Grimsley, the school system’s executive director of academic services, will sign on to be the new division superintendent at the June 30 end-of-year school board meeting, according to the board.

Her four-year contract will take effect on July 1.

“The board looks forward to appointing Shannon Grimsley as the district’s new superintendent,” said Rappahannock County School Board Chair John Wesley Mills.

Mills told the Rappahannock News that the board considered several good candidates and chose Grimsley “for numerous, well-grounded reasons.”

“She has a proven track record supporting student success, in-depth expertise in instructional strategies, innovative and creative local and regional projects, keen understanding of budget and finance, strength as a communicator, and [is a] collaborative leader focused on building community relationships,” he said.

Reached at her Luray home on Saturday, Grimsley told the News that for starters she was “ecstatic.”

“I am still in shock a little bit,” she admitted. “I am very much looking forward to [becoming superintendent]. I feel like Rappahannock’s adopted daughter in many ways and I want to give everything I can back to the community . . . and county.”

Grimsley said she and her family are moving to Rappahannock County from Luray this July.

“The board truly believes that her initiative, attitude, and collaborative leadership style will create an atmosphere that promotes the best for our students and staff. We consider her abilities to be exactly what students need to exit life-ready in our era,” said Mills.

The chairman added that the board’s selection also “brings familiarity and a fresh perspective to educational challenges faced by our system and we hope the community will share in our excitement.”

Grimsley earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts, a master’s degree in educational administration from Shenandoah University, and studied Irish and British literature for a stint at Oxford.  

She earned her superintendent’s license in January, and anticipates finishing her doctorate in advanced educational leadership from Regent University by May 2018. Her dissertation on the effects of rural health and wellness programs in schools is already earning recognition in the collegiate and nonprofit sectors, Mills pointed out.

Closer to home, Grimsley has served Rappahannock County Schools for the last 11 years in various capacities at both the elementary and high school, as well as in the central office, including special education, English, gifted, curriculum and instruction, federal programming, civil rights compliance, career and technical education, and academic services.

“Her leadership in curriculum and instruction has been an integral part of the school district’s high achievement at all levels. She also has strong community relationships, having worked collaboratively with local organizations to promote additional opportunities for students and citizens,” said Mills.

Recently, Grimsley earned recognition as the school system’s resident expert in grant writing, bringing over a half a million dollars in additional funds to Rappahannock County Public Schools for the Chesapeake watershed project, school security equipment grants, health science, and Commit to Be Fit (the schedule for which often appears in this newspaper).

I just want people to know that I am open to new ideas and open to leveraging all the awesome resources we have in the county,” Grimsley said on Saturday, adding that she was “blown away at the talent” within the Rappahannock school system and community as a whole.

“I look forward to talking together and collaborating on many things.”

“We want to thank our community who played an active role during this process,” said Mills. “We believe that Shannon Grimsley will be a visionary leader and a great match for our staff, students, and community for many years to come.”

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  1. Shannon is going to be great for Rappahannock County. I’m thrilled to have someone leading our schools who is not only intelligent and compassionate, but also part of the community, experienced with the schools, and a parent of young children.

  2. I am glad to see a young woman in this position…I look forward to this year and the next three….I have a 10th grader at RAPP and we will welcome Ms. Grimsley with open arms…..Our wishes are smooth sailing and a positive attitude towards some new blood…Congratulations….

  3. I am thrilled at the appointment of Shannon Grimsley for Rappahannock County Superintendent! Shannon will provide the direction needed to further the school system and prepare our youth for the future. Shannon is humble,honest, and dedicated. She will never put herself above the needs of students or her staff. Congratulations to the school board for making the right choice for Rappahannock County Schools!

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