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County chooses new superintendent

Jeremy Raley and his wife Cindy speak to a reporter after he was appointed to a four-year term as superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Assistant superintendent moves up to lead schools

By Kim Walter

WOODSTOCK -- The new superintendent for Shenandoah County Public Schools will begin his new job on Nov. 1.

The School Board voted Thursday evening after a special closed session to select Jeremy Raley as the new superintendent. Raley is currently the county school district's assistant superintendent of administration and finance.

While Raley was voted in after a month of interviews and discussion, it was not a unanimous decision.

The vote was 5-1, with board member Irving Getz casting the lone vote against the selection.

Getz didn't say much as to his vote, but noted that "the majority of the board voted him in, and I will work with him."

Raley has been employed by the division since 1998, one year after graduating from college. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Virginia, and earned a doctorate in organizational leadership from Shenandoah University in August 2011.

After starting as a physical education teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, he moved on to become Ashby Lee Elementary School's assistant principal. He then went back to Sandy Hook and served as the principal until joining the school system's administrative staff.

School Board Chairman Gary Rutz said that after interviewing eight of the 17 individuals who submitted applications, Raley was the clear choice.

"These people were very well qualified, but Jeremy stood out to us," Rutz said following the board's vote. "We knew what he brought to the table, and we are comfortable working with him."

Rutz said the board used a parent and staff survey, handed out before the start of school, to guide their selection. However, he noted that they couldn't meet all the requests that were made.

"Jeremy is a leader, a family man, and he is well connected to this community and school division," Rutz said. "I feel very good about this decision."

Looking back, Raley said he never dreamed as an elementary physical education teacher that he would one day be superintendent of a school division.

"I'm humbled by this opportunity," he said. "I look forward to working with the staff, faculty and the rest of the team here toward the success of our students."

Once Raley officially takes office, he said he plans to build relationships and do "a lot of listening and talking." He looks forward to bringing a new perspective to the position.

Kevin Castner, interim superintendent, said he made a point to not be involved in the selection process in any way. However, he said over the past few months he's enjoyed getting to know Raley.

"I appreciate his hard work ... he's very intelligent," he said. "He's also made a lot of effort to be involved in everything we've done so far this year. "

Castner said he believes Raley's background in administration and with the division in general will enable him to "hit the ground running."

Castner will remain in the position of acting superintendent through the end of the month.

Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or kwalter@nvdaily.com

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