Dr. Schuch receives Region 5 award

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By Tom Wilmoth

    Bedford County School Superintendent Dr. Douglas Schuch has been named Region 5 2017-2018 superintendent of the year.

    The announcement was made Tuesday.
    “It’s an amazing honor,” stated Dr. Schuch Tuesday, minutes after finding out about the honor. “I really think it’s a reflection of our team in the school system.”
    Region 5 consists of 21 school divisions. “To be recognized in  that group is very honoring and very humbling,” he said of his peers in the region.
    Dr. Schuch has served as superintendent of Bedford County Public Schools since 2009. He is a proponent of collaborative leadership and strategic planning. Dr. Schuch has championed personalized learning and its ability to empower students to learn at their own pace while providing learners choices in how and where they learn. 
    “Everyone has worked together over the past nine years,” he said of his tenure serving the county’s students. “We have been able to keep a team together. I think we have a great school system.”
    He said he feels that way as a parent, as well, having had one daughter graduate already and another who is a junior at Jefferson Forest.
    Dr. Schuch said he is “blessed and honored” to be recognized with the award. A committee of former winners makes the selection.
    Dr. Schuch will receive his award at a conference in May and a state-wide winner will be announced from among the eight region winners.
    “I’m just happy to get to this point,” he said.
    Dr. Schuch said the fact that the school system has a better working relationship with the county has been important in moving forward. “It’s as good as it has been,” he said.
    The recession of his early years here led to some “tough decisions,” such as closing schools. But as the economy has recovered the school system has focused on personalized learning and on modernizing to give students what they need to be successful.
    “(Liberty Middle School) is a school designed for the future,” he said of the new school which will open in August. “That’s a good example of the county and the school system working together.”
    Dr. Schuch said the school system is made up of a good team, from those working in the individual schools to the central office staff.
    “We have people who work hard for the kids,” he said. “They want to be in a school setting. hey know that they are benefitting the community. It’s their hard work that has paid off.”
    He said individuals are willing to take risks and try new ideas in order to be more successful. That has led to numerous new programs being offered for students.
    “We want to be able to give back to that next generation,” he said.
    He feels fortunate to have been with the school system for nine years and said it’s a good testament to the community for its willingness to support that continuity.
    “We all try to get better,” he said.
    On a personal note, Dr. Schuch said Bedford County has become his family’s home. “We didn’t know much about the community when we first came down here. Being a part of this community has been very special.”
    Dr. Schuch’s 24 years in public education have included teaching and administrative assignments in Fairfax County and Stafford County. He has served as a member of the VASS Assessment and Accountability Committee, member of the VASS SOA/SOQ Committee, Chairman of the SOQ Committee, and currently serves as the VASS Secretary/Treasurer. 
    Region 5 Chair, Dr. Scott Kizner, stated, “Congratulations to Dr. Doug Schuch.  In my opinion, he is one of the strongest thought leaders among the superintendents and I have observed first-hand how well valued his comments are among his peers throughout Virginia.”
    Dr. Schuch also served in the United States Navy and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.  He is married to Denise and has two daughters, Juliane and Emily.