During the Loudoun County School Board meeting on Tuesday night, Superintendent Eric Williams announced two key hiring decisions. Nyah Hamlett will serve has his new chief of staff and Lottie Spurlock will serve as the school system’s first equity director.
Starting in her new role June 24, Hamlett replaces Michael Richards who took over as the superintendent of Harrisonburg City Public Schools on May 2. Hamlett comes from Henrico County Public Schools, where she’s worked as assistant superintendent for instructional support since 2014.
In that role, she served as a member of Henrico’s District Leadership Team, supporting operational goals and oversight of its $620-million budget. She directed the departments of Exceptional Education, Response to Intervention, Home Instruction, Federal Programs (Pre-School and Title I), Family and Community Engagement, Student Support and Disciplinary Review, School-Based Mental Health, School Counseling, Extended Learning, School Social Work, and School Psychology.
Hamlett also led professional development efforts for Henrico schools, including training more than 250 employees in restorative practices over the course of one year, establishing a mobile family educator resource center, implementing programs that led to a reduction in the rate of out-of-school suspensions by 37 percent, and assisting with a review of equity and family engagement in special education programs. She’s held numerous titles for Henrico County dating back to 2007, including as director of exceptional education and support services; education coordinator and specialist; and Title I reading specialist/instructional coach at Lakeside Elementary School.
Her previous experience also includes serving as secondary special education teacher at Princess Anne Middle School and Salem High School within Virginia Beach City Public Schools. She earned her doctorate in educational policy, planning and leadership from William & Mary. Hamlett holds a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology and audiology, dual master’s degrees in reading and administration and supervision, and a professional teaching license with endorsements in learning disabilities, K-12 reading specialization, and administration and supervision.
Spurlock, currently principal at Cardinal Ridge Elementary School in South Riding, starts the new equity director role on July 1. She also served as the principal of Rolling Ridge Elementary School and as assistant principal of Guilford Elementary School, both in Sterling. Spurlock has also taught at other schools in Virginia, including as a kindergarten and fifth-grade teacher at C.C. Wells Elementary School in Chesterfield County and as a fifth-grade teacher at David A. Harrison Elementary School in Prince George County.
Other past experience includes working as an assistant principal at A.P. Hill Elementary for Petersburg City Public Schools, a school site coordinator at Chalkey Elementary in Chesterfield County, and a beginning teacher advisor/coach at Virginia Commonwealth University. Spurlock holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Central Michigan University. She has achieved educational leadership certification from Virginia Commonwealth University.
By hiring from within, the school district saved $39,000 of the $200,000 originally budgeted for the equity director position. During its meeting on April 23, the school board approved a reduction of the amount set aside for the job to $161,000, shifting the remaining $39,000 to help balance a $2.1 million shortfall in the FY20 operating budget.
Spurlock begins her new role with the school board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Equity during a crucial time, as the panel starts detailed work over the summer. She already has a head start, as the non-voting staff liaison on the committee who has attended all three meetings and helped facilitate discussions. The next meeting of the committee is Thursday, June 6.
In other staff news, Williams named the new principal for Lightridge High School, which opens in fall 2020 in Aldie, located on Collaboration Drive near Braddock Road and Northstar Boulevard. Ryan Hitchman, currently principal of Belmont Ridge Middle School, starts July 1 as the principal at Lightridge, which will serve up to 1,800 students.
Legacy Elementary School in Brambleton is also getting a new principal starting May 28, as Kirsten O’Hara is moving into the new role after serving as assistant principal at Round Hill Elementary School.