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Pierce Elementary principal promoted, interim principal appointed

Tuesday, Jun. 24 | By Fauquier Times Staff
Bruce McDaniel, a retired Prince William County Public Schools elementary school principal, has been appointed interim principal of Pierce Elementary School for one year, effective July 1.

An educator for 35 years, Mr. McDaniel last served as the principal of the 500-student Nokesville Elementary School for six years prior to his retirement in June 2011. He has substituted as a school-level administrator and as a teacher in three schools in Fauquier County over the past two years – Pierce, Miller and Pearson Elementary Schools.

Dr. David Jeck, division superintendent of Fauquier County Public Schools, made the announcement Monday evening, June 23, at a special meeting and work session of the Fauquier County School Board. In response to a similar situation at Cedar Lee Middle School earlier this summer, Dr. Jeck decided to select a one-year interim principal at Pierce because of the timing of the vacancy relative to the time needed to conduct a principal search.

Mr. McDaniel will replace Dr. Christie Wolfe, principal of Pierce Elementary for the past seven years. On Monday evening the Board approved the selection of Dr. Wolfe to fill a human resources specialist position in the Fauquier County Human Resources Department to meet the need for additional school-experienced personnel in human resources. In her new role Dr. Wolfe will assist with responsiveness to requests, manage and oversee certified and classified performance evaluations, manage retirement programming and provide support to the overall benefit programs of the school division.

Raised in Falls Church, VA, Mr. McDaniel, 58, holds a bachelor of science in physical education from Carson Newman College and a master of science in administration and supervision from George Mason University. He began his career in education as a physical education teacher for nine years in Wise County. He spent the next 26 years in Prince William County – as a P.E. teacher and an assistant principal at Mountain View Elementary School and as principal of Nokesville Elementary.

It seemed inevitable that Mr. McDaniel would pursue a career in education – his mother taught first grade for 42 years and two of his aunts were teachers.

“I always wanted to teach,” he said. “I was always into athletics, and I always enjoyed working with kids when I coached; it was just a passion of mine. Right when I started school, I knew I wanted to teach.”

What wasn’t so clear cut was his move into administration; that wasn’t a career goal, yet he was prodded in that direction. One of the principals for whom he worked approached him with the recommendation that he pursue an administration degree. He decided to take the advice, but chose to follow a slow and steady path – one course a semester plus one more each summer. Earning his master’s two and a half years later, he nonetheless stuck with teaching.

“I enjoyed teaching and had no desire to go into administration,” he admitted.

Still, the principal at Mountain View Elementary, where he had taught for years, asked
him if he would be interested in the AP position there so he agreed to apply for the position and
was selected.

“I told her I had no desire to go any further, but never say never,” he said with a laugh.

Finding that he enjoyed many aspects of administration, he accepted the Nokesville Elementary
principal position a few short years later.

What does he like about being an administrator?

“I love the relationships you build,” he said, “relationships with the community, the staff and the kids. As a principal I was very active. I was in the classroom teaching, I was in the cafeteria – I was never in my office, but always around the building. I believe that’s an intricate part of being an administrator. “

Mr. McDaniel has set certain goals for his one-year appointment at Pierce.

“I want to get to know the staff better, and I want to get to know the kids and build rapport with them,” he said. “I want to pursue some professional development training because education is ongoing; it’s learning all the time. I want to get to know the community. And, of course, I want to work on the academics, see what the data shows, what we need to work on, see what our strengths and weaknesses are.”

Mr. McDaniel and his wife Sue reside in Culpeper; he enjoys church activities, golf and
travel.

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