Brennan to lead Carrollton school

Published 9:52 pm Monday, June 12, 2017

An assistant principal is leaving Suffolk Public Schools to assume his first-ever role as principal in Isle of Wight County.

Isle of Wight County Schools announced last week that Robert Brennan will be the next principal at Carrollton Elementary School, starting July 1. Brennan is currently the assistant principal at Suffolk’s Creekside Elementary School.

“I am confident that his experience will continue to move Carrollton Elementary School forward as we focus on preparing all of our students to be college, career and life ready,” Isle of Wight County Public Schools Superintendent Jim Thornton said in a press release.

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Brennan has served as an assistant principal in Suffolk for nine years between Mack Benn Jr. Elementary, King’s Fork Middle and Creekside Elementary schools. He has worked with four different principals in that span and learned from their leadership, he said.

“I think nine years of that has gotten me ready to take that office,” he said.

He said he is excited by the “project-based learning” in Isle of Wight schools that encourages students to think critically.

“There’s a sense of pride in what they accomplish, and I think that builds them as little human beings,” he said. “If they work hard, there’s success in the end.”

Brennan began his tenure in Suffolk in 2002 as an English teacher at Nansemond River High School. His six-and-a-half-years at Nansemond River taught him the importance of establishing strong relationships with students, he said.

He held onto that lesson as a school administrator and encouraged his staff to follow that example.

“If the kids believe that you believe in them, then they are going to strive to perform,” he said.

As assistant principal, Brennan helped shape protocol for how teachers approach student disciplinary incidents at Creekside Elementary. He encouraged teachers to contact the parents and build rapport with them.

While his teachers were building relationships with parents, Brennan was building relationships with faculty.

“There were teachers in this building that were my students at Nansemond River,” he said.

He said it will be sad to say goodbye to the family he has at Creekside Elementary and the environment that’s familiar to him. His colleagues, however, have encouraged him to press forward.

He cited Creekside Elementary principal Katrina Rountree as a mentor during the past four years, as she prepared him to one day assume that role.

“Her whole perspective has been building me to be a principal,” he said.

He said that he’s excited to be part of Isle of Wight Public Schools and guide its students for many years to come.

“I could see some of those kids come back and teach for me before I end up retiring,” he said.