Harvie ES principal honored with REB Distinguished Leadership Award; Hermitage principal is runner-up

Tonya Holmes, Principal of Henrico County’s Harvie Elementary School receiving REB Award.

Henrico, Va., March 15, 2022 — Tonya Holmes, principal of Henrico County’s Harvie Elementary School, has been awarded the 2021-22 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation and the REB Foundation present the award to four principals annually — one each from the school divisions of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond. Holmes was surprised with the news Monday afternoon at a gathering in the school’s library attended by Henrico County Public Schools leaders, Harvie staff members and her family.

Holmes will receive a $10,000 cash grant and an additional $20,000 for school projects. She plans to use the bulk of her project funding for “CAMP3401,” a planned summer career exploration camp at Harvie.

Michael Jackson, principal of Hermitage High School, was runner-up for the award. He will receive a $10,000 grant to turn an underused patio area at Hermitage into an outdoor learning space.

The REB award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. Nominees must have served as principal at their school for at least three years.

“I do what I do because I love what I do and I love this place,” Holmes told staff members Monday. “This is a very special place. I’ve been told that ever since I walked through these doors, and you all prove that each day in the job that you do. It makes me want to work harder for you and for our babies. … I’m determined that we are going to continue to be that school of excellence. I thank you and I can’t wait to get started on CAMP3401.”

Michael Jackson, Principal of Henrico County’s Hermitage High School receiving REB Award.

Holmes has been principal of Harvie since 2015. She previously held positions with HCPS as a resource teacher and a fifth grade teacher. She also served as a principal in Petersburg, an assistant principal with Richmond City Public Schools, and a fourth grade teacher in Sussex County. Originally from Louisa County, Holmes has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Jackson, a Hermitage graduate, became principal of his alma mater in 2019 after holding a variety of positions in Henrico County Public Schools. He has served as principal at John Rolfe Middle School; associate and assistant principal at Brookland Middle School; administrative intern, webmaster, administrative aide and art teacher at Fairfield Middle School; and art teacher at Mount Vernon Middle School. Jackson was named HCPS instructional leader of the year in 2010 and 2019. He has a bachelor’s degree from Wingate University and earned a master’s and a doctorate in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Hermitage is a family and I couldn’t think of anything better than receiving a nomination to do something for all Panthers,” Jackson said. “We are excited to create an outdoor learning facility that will be a wonderful addition to the school.”