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A familiar face at JF

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Calvert takes over as school’s principal

By John Barnhart

    The new school year starts tomorrow and, although Jefferson Forest High School (JFHS) has a new principal, returning students will see a familiar face. That’s because Dr. Lee Ann Calvert has been assistant principal there for 13 years.

    Calvert is originally from Mannington, West Virginia and came to Central Virginia when her husband went to work for Babcock and Wilcox in Lynchburg in 1990. She taught math, chemistry and advanced placement chemistry at Heritage High School for 11 years, serving as the school’s science department chairman for part of that time.

    She’s going to be a familiar face for one JFHS student. Her daughter, her only child, is a senior there this year.
    “It will be very special that it’s her senior year and my first year as principal,” Calvert said.
    Calvert has lived in the Forest area of Bedford County ever since she and her husband moved to Central Virginia, so she’s known some of her daughter’s current classmates since they were in pre-school
    “It will be very special to hand them their diplomas,” she said.
    Settling in as the principal of a school where she has been assistant principal for years has an advantage.
    “I know the school, I know the parents and they trust me,” she said.
    “It’s an advantage for us, too,” commented Jean Marie Johnston, an English teacher who has moved into the assistant principal slot that Calvert vacated. Calvert represents a known quantity for the school’s faculty.
    Of course, Calvert, in turn knows the faculty and she has a high opinion of them.
    “We have a wonderful faculty,” she said.
    Calvert said she was thrilled to be named as the high school’s new principal.
    “I always wanted to be principal of JF, to lead JF to the next level of achievement,” she said.
    What is that next level?
    “Our vision is to become the premiere high school in the state of Virginia,” she said.
    This is possible. An annual survey by the Washington Post rated JFHS 57th in Virginia. The school rates 867th in the entire United States and Calvert said the high school’s ranking improves every  year.
    “We continue to make kids career and college ready,” Calvert said.
    She cites having cutting edge technology and a lot of students enrolled in advanced placement or dual enrollment classes as important factors in achieving this goal. Calvert said the school has more than 200 dual enrollment students who take classes at Central Virginia Community College (CVCC), spending half of their time at CVCC.
    Calvert is looking forward to the school year. She said she loves working in a high school.
    “I love the pep rally days, games,” she said. “It’s great to see them [the students] achieve and have fun.”