Credit: Credit: Albemarle County Public Schools

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Albemarle County Public Schools today announced the appointments of two principals to division-wide senior leadership positions. Michele Castner, who has led Agnor-Hurt Elementary School as its principal since 2005, will become the school division’s Director of Elementary Education, and Ashby Kindler, who has served as the principal of the division’s two charter schools since 2010, will become the Coordinator of Federal Programs. Both appointments are effective on July 1.

In her new role, Castner will provide leadership and coordination for middle school (in conjunction with the Director of Secondary Education) and elementary school curricula, assessment, and instructional programs that include academic and extra-curricular areas. She also will guide division coordination of instructional coaching teams that work with classroom teachers to enhance instructional practices.

Kindler will be moving from programs that serve 150 students to programs that support more than 1,000 students. In addition to ensuring the school division’s compliance with all federal program requirements, Kindler will direct initiatives for students who are homeless, homebound, or schooled at home. She also will assist with such high priority assignments as the current transition of Yancey Elementary School students and their families to Red Hill and Scottsville elementary schools.

“Both of these appointments are great news for our teachers and students,” said Dr. Matthew Haas, the school division’s Deputy Superintendent. “Michele has led one of the most diverse schools in our county, successfully implementing a highly innovative multi-age classroom for students in grades K-5 and developing highly effective school-wide tutoring and literacy programs. Her knowledge and passion for student learning will be a valuable asset to all 15 of our elementary schools and our six middle schools,” he said. Haas also noted Kindler’s strong experience in student engagement. “Ashby is a highly effective advocate and practitioner of student-centered learning,” Haas said, adding, “She is an excellent counselor for students and their families. The strong bonds she develops with them, her instinct for recognizing the highest potential within every student, and her ability to motivate students to reach that potential all are important resources in reducing learning opportunity gaps.”

Both Castner and Kindler will report to Debora Collins, the school division’s Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning. Doug Granger, who was the assistant principal at Agnor-Hurt from 2008 to 2014, will return to the school on a one-year appointment as its interim principal. Granger joined Albemarle County as an assistant principal at Burley Middle School in 2006 and currently is a lead coach for the division.

Dr. Haas said that a search process already has begun to appoint a new principal for both Murray High School and the Community Public Charter School (CPCS), with a goal of having the School Board make an appointment by July 1.

Prior to becoming principal of Murray High School and CPCS—the charter schools for high school and middle school students, respectively—Kindler was the principal of Stone-Robinson Elementary School for nine years. She was an assistant principal at both Walton Middle School and Western Albemarle High School. She began her career in education in 1980 as a high school English teacher in Albemarle County.

Kindler’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Virginia (UVA). She earned a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from UVA and holds certifications from the William Glasser Institute.

Castner began her education career as a teacher in the Prince William County school division and joined Albemarle County in 1996 as an assistant principal at Greer Elementary School. She later was the principal at Crozet Elementary School for five years prior to being appointed Agnor-Hurt’s principal.

Castner earned her undergraduate degree in early childhood education from George Mason University and her Master’s in K-12 Administration and Supervision from UVA.

Both appointments fill previously budgeted positions.