All the best

Published 9:32 pm Saturday, October 25, 2014

Anything that’s brand new is bound to get a lot of attention. The new house for sale on the block is the one homebuyers are most likely to visit first. The new car in the driveway will catch the eye of all the neighbors driving clunkers.

The same is true for the new school in the district, and Suffolk’s newest school, Pioneer Elementary School has attracted plenty of attention since it opened for its first students the day after Labor Day.

But Pioneer also has a new principal, and if the eyes of southwestern Suffolk are on the school, they’re also watching Danielle Belton as she settles into her new job. By all accounts, Belton is well prepared for the scrutiny, and she’s well on her way to ensuring a successful first year for her new school.

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Belton took the position upon the departure of Chris Phillips, the former Southwestern Elementary principal who left Pioneer early in the school year to take a similar job with a struggling school in Alexandria.

Belton had served as interim assistant principal under Phillips, and she has a wealth of experience prior to that job. Last year, Belton was assistant principal at Northern Shores Elementary School. In 2012-2013 — her first year with Suffolk Public Schools — she was a special education teacher at John Yeates Middle School. She also has held leadership positions in Petersburg, Hampton, Charles City and York public schools and at George Mason University and the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

She holds a master’s degree in special education and an MBA from Hampton University, and she earned her doctorate in educational administration from George Washington University.

Belton certainly brings a wealth of qualifications to her new role in Suffolk Public Schools, as well as a clear enthusiasm for standing at the helm of the city’s newest school, even as the eyes of the community are focused on it — and on her.

We wish her all the best in this endeavor.