Ashland Elementary School Principal Andy Jacks discovered an abnormal scene this morning: a gym full of quiet students and staff members.
Jacks had been told that there was an emergency down the hall of the Manassas-based facility.
“I came out for an emergency and then I saw a bunch of students and staff in the gym and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, man. This is either good or really bad,’” he said.
There was no emergency, however. Instead, Jacks was being recognized by the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals (VAESP).
Jim Baldwin, the organization’s executive director, announced that Jacks is the National Distinguished Principal for Virginia.
“I’m humbled,” Jacks told What’s Up Prince William. “This is pretty amazing.”
Jacks previously served as an assistant principal at Buckland Elementary School in Gainesville and a fifth-grade teacher at Kilby Elementary School in Woodbridge.
Steve Walts, superintendent of Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) recalled meeting Jacks for the first time 13 years ago, when Jacks was a teacher.
“I just remember walking out of that class after he told me all about what they were planning for their students, and I said to myself, ‘That man is going places, and he is not always going to be a teacher,’ Walts said. “And then, not that long after that, he became an assistant principal and then a principal, and now he’s going to be recognized for that.”
Working in schools, Jacks said, gives him a chance to help children grow.
“Education is the place that changes society, improves society,” he said. “So, every day is kind of that opportunity to make a massive difference, not just in here but for the future.”