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Stafford teacher hired as Greenville Elementary assistant principal

Tuesday, May. 20 | By Staff
Patricia Apicella, a reading specialist at Rodney Thompson Middle School (RTMS) in Stafford County, VA, has been appointed assistant principal at Greenville Elementary School effective July 1; she will replace Amy Hatton, who is moving out of state due to her husband’s employment.

Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Apicella earned a bachelor of arts with honors in primary education from Bradford University in the United Kingdom in 2000 and earned a master’s in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on literacy from George Mason University in 2007; she has an endorsement as a K-12 reading specialist and earned a post-graduate certificate in K-12 administration and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012.

Apicella’s civil service profession led her to the classroom. She accepted a temporary assignment in Northern Ireland, working at the Child Support Agency’s Parliament Business Unit where she responded to letters from the constituents of John Major, then Prime Minister. Working for the British government for 15 years as a civil servant, she had worked in various government departments, but it was while working for the
Child Support Agency that Apicella switched gears to enter the field of education. It was that experience that proved to be a life changer for her.

“I became heavily involved in working with children, and I liked interacting with them,” she said. “Even after 15 years I decided to switch careers.”

Because she particularly enjoys working with elementary-aged children, Apicella began her teaching experience at that level when she moved to the United States in 2001. She spent five years
teaching at Stafford Elementary, transferred to Anthony Burns Elementary for two years because she “wanted the challenge of opening a new school,” and then returned to Stafford Elementary. A year later
she accepted a middle school reading specialist position which she has held for the last five years.

Why the switch to middle school?

“I talked over the idea of applying for the middle school position with my elementary principal who suggested I should spread my wings,” she said. While she has enjoyed working with middle-school-age students, she said it is “wonderful” to be headed to an administrator position in an elementary school.

“As a middle school reading specialist in Stafford County, I was provided leadership opportunities, such as serving on the RTMS lead team. I also participated in teacher interview panels, and I was assigned bus duty and discipline. I was also honored and privileged to be appointed to the Governor’s Teacher Cabinet in 2013, which provided educational recommendations to the governor and the Virginia General Assembly,” she said. “I am elated to be going back to an elementary school to help nurture Fauquier’s inquiring young minds. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ms. Apicella has a couple of goals in mind for her move to Greenville – one related to teachers and the other to parents.

“As a reading specialist, I know my content area very well, but I want to help teachers in all areas,” she said. “Also, I’m very committed to supporting the home/school connection. I have held parent workshops to provide tools they can use to support literacy in the home. I think it’s so important to maintain that very strong connection at the elementary level.”
A dual citizen, the soon-to-be-AP became a U.S. citizen in 2011. She has two daughters and a stepson, all three of whom will graduate or have graduated this year. Her older daughter will graduate from dental school in July and has accepted a job in London, her younger daughter will graduate from Old Dominion University in December, and her stepson graduated from James Madison University earlier this month.

Apicella lives on the border of Stafford and Fauquier Counties with her husband who is a civil servant with the U.S. Coast Guard. In her spare time she enjoys reading and gardening. The latter hobby seems to have something in common with her second career, whether flowers or children: “I like to plant and watch them grow,” she said.

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