Hillsboro Charter Academy has named Trisha Ann Ybarra-Peters as its first principal.
The elementary school will open in August as Loudoun County’s second charter program.
Ybarra-Peters’ appointment was made after a nationwide search and a review of nearly 50 applicants, according to a press release announcing the hire. In her almost 20-year education career, Ybarra-Peters has taught in both traditional and non-traditional schools, including the past 10 years in Loudoun County Public Schools.
“Trisha brings a set of core values that are in concert with the mission of Hillsboro Charter Academy,” Rebecca Baldwin Fuller, Hillsboro Charter Academy board president, stated. “We believe her experience and demonstrated passion for innovative teaching and community collaboration make her an ideal leader for our new charter school.”
Ybarra-Peters, 46, is a special education teacher and case manager for learning disabled, emotionally disabled and autistic students at J. Michael Lunsford Middle School in South Riding. She also taught special education at Belmont Ridge Middle School, and, for a year, worked as a literacy coach at the Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Center. Prior to coming to Loudoun in 2005, she worked with academically at-risk youth in Riverside, CA. She began her teaching career in 1996 as a special education teacher in Montana.
She recently won accolades for her role in creating Loudoun’s Bright Life Initiative, an innovative program that offers hybrid classes where general education and special education students learn side-by-side.
Ybarra-Peters said she’s followed the story of parents and teachers pulling together to save Hillsboro Elementary from closure and was compelled by the “blood, sweat and tears that went into creating the charter.”
Hillsboro Charter Academy will offer a science, technology, engineering, arts, math, project-based learning curriculum to kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Ybarra-Peters said too often those kind of specialized lessons are provided only to academically gifted students.
“Here’s the deal: everybody should have those opportunities,” she said. “I’ve always been blown away by the fact that when I’ve seen students given the choice of their task or project, they would always go for something I don’t think a teacher would traditionally assign. They went for the hard tasks. … I believe if we can find the key for each child, we can unlock their intrinsic motivation to learn.”
Ybarra-Peters and her husband, Jeff, have two children. Their daughter, Maria, is a senior at Tuscarora High School and their son, Daniel, graduated from Stone Bridge High School and now attends Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.
Hillsboro Charter Academy is a tuition free, school of choice, which means any Loudoun County elementary student can attend. Learn more at hillsborocharter.org.