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Thursday, November 21 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
"Save the Name…But the Name Hurts" A School Name Change Story

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The Staunton School Board voted in the fall of 2018 to change the name of the city's only high school from Robert E. Lee High School to Staunton High School, effective July 1, 2019. A series of regrettable events occurred in Staunton City Schools in 2016 that put our division in the national spotlight, plus the August 2017 event in Charlottesville, just 30-some miles away, prompted school leaders to take a close look at racial disparities, diversity, and inclusivity in Staunton City Schools, and, ultimately, begin a yearlong process to examine those issues. The name change has been the most prominent transformation that has taken place as a result of self-examination and reflection, but the work continues.


Jonno Alcaro

Albemarle County School Board


Dr. Garett Smith

Superintendent, Staunton City Public Schools
Garett Smith is entering his third year as division superintendent for Staunton City Schools. He previously has served as an executive director, principal, assistant principal, and teacher. Smith has also been an adjunct professor, teaching school leadership classes at the University... Read More →

Ruth Jones Turner

Communications Manager, Staunton City Public Schools
Ruth Jones Turner is the communications manager for the City of Staunton and Staunton City Schools. She has served as a communications director and consultant for nonprofit organizations for more than 12 years and previously worked as a journalist for six years.

Jon Venn

Chief Human Resources Officer, Staunton City Public Schools
Jonathan Venn is the Chief Human Resources Officer for the City of Staunton and Staunton City Schools. He has previously served in multiple roles in Staunton City Schools including the Director of Human Resources, Director of Student Services and as a school psychologist.

Thursday November 21, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm PST
Tidewater C-D