Posted: August 3, 2023
The Newport News School Board announced the appointment of Dr. Michele Mitchell as superintendent of Newport News Public Schools effective immediately. Dr. Mitchell, who was named acting superintendent of the school division January 2023, had served as the Executive Director of Student Advancement for 11 years, overseeing social work and psychological services, dropout prevention programs, special education services, gifted programs, school counseling, social emotional learning and school based mental health programs.
Dr. Mitchell brings a wealth of educational leadership to Newport News Public Schools through her service as a teacher, assistant principal, middle school principal, director of special education and interim Chief Academic Officer. She began her teaching career in NNPS at South Morrison Elementary School where she served for three years before departing for a position in Fairfax, where she served as a teacher and crisis counselor for 11 years. She returned to NNPS as a teacher, later becoming an administrator, and has spent the last 29 years in service to the students and staff of Newport News Public Schools.
As acting superintendent, Dr. Mitchell has worked to rebuild trust and positive relationships among families, students, staff and the community through the establishment of three new advisory committees to enhance family engagement, school safety and student rights and responsibilities; employee roundtable discussions; listening tours and community meetings.
Dr. Mitchell also enhanced safety and security for students and staff, increasing the number of school security officers, installing weapon detection systems in all schools, providing more security training for staff; and increasing collaboration with the Newport News Police Department and the Newport News Sheriff’s Office. She has advanced the school division’s strategic plan, Journey 2025, through teacher professional development sessions and the creation of an Instructional Design Taskforce to enhance student learning.
Under her leadership as Executive Director of Student Advancement, NNPS established the national award-winning Tiered Emotional and Mental Health Supports (TEaMS) program in 2019. The program offers a continuum of social/emotional and mental health services to students. The TEaMS approach removes barriers to mental health care by providing services at no cost to families. The program fully funds licensed clinical mental health therapists who serve in the school setting. NNPS is the only school system in southeastern Virginia to offer access to mental health professionals in schools.
Dr. Mitchell holds a bachelor of science degree in education from Norfolk State University, a master of arts degree in educational leadership from George Mason University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
“The School Board sought input from parents, staff, students and community during our superintendent search process. Dr. Michele Mitchell matched every qualification and characteristic that our community identified as priorities: she has served as a teacher, principal, director, interim chief academic officer and acting superintendent. Our best and most qualified candidate was right here in Newport News Public Schools,” said School Board Chairman Lisa Surles-Law. “With her accomplished background and dedication to our school division, we are confident that Dr. Mitchell is the right leader for Newport News Public Schools.”
“I am humbled and excited to be named the superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, my home for over 29 years. I look forward to continuing my service to this great school division. I remain focused on my commitment to rebuild and advance Newport News Public Schools. I thank the school board and our community for their confidence in me,” said Dr. Mitchell.
The Newport News School Board contracted the Virginia School Boards Association to conduct a national search to fill the superintendent position. The search yielded 54 inquiries and 35 applications from 24 states including 12 from Virginia.
About Newport News Public Schools: Newport News Public Schools educates 26,500 students in 41 schools: 3 early childhood centers, 24 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, 5 high schools, 1 middle/high combination school and a virtual learning academy. NNPS is a community of diverse learners: over 1,500 students speak a language other than English. NNPS employees number 4,688 including 2,045 teachers. Each day in Newport News Public Schools the focus is on one mission: ensuring that all students graduate college, career and citizen-ready!