Dr. Amy E. Cashwell became superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools in July of 2018. A longtime educator, Cashwell comes to Henrico with a wealth of experience and a passion for public education.
Before becoming superintendent, Cashwell was chief academic officer for Virginia Beach Schools’ Department of Teaching and Learning. She oversaw a number of departments, including those dealing with instruction, instructional technology, student support services, exceptional education, and opportunity and achievement. She joined Virginia Beach Schools in 1998 as a teacher before becoming an assistant principal and principal. She assumed the role of chief academic officer in 2013.
“It is an honor to serve the Henrico County community as superintendent,” Cashwell said. “I am committed to maintaining the legacy of excellence within Henrico County Public Schools and to working collaboratively with the Henrico community to build upon the division’s reputation for academic excellence and innovation.”
During her time in Virginia Beach, Cashwell concentrated on a variety of initiatives, including those related to equity, social and emotional support systems for students, exceptional education, and technology. In 2016 she was recognized by the Virginia Society for Technology in Education as its Outstanding Educator of the Year for her role in launching a school-based instructional technology support program. The Center for Digital Education, a national education research and media group, named her one of its top 30 “technologists, transformers and trailblazers” for 2017. The group cited Cashwell’s leadership in carving out an independent role for instructional technology, and in helping schools become laboratories for testing the instructional possibilities of new technology.
When Cashwell was chosen, Michelle “Micky” Ogburn, School Board chair and the Board’s Three Chopt District representative, expressed the Board’s unanimous support.
“I am honored to have worked with my fellow School Board members in selecting Dr. Cashwell to be our next superintendent,” Ogburn said. “Her experience as a classroom teacher and extensive leadership across many facets of Virginia Beach Public Schools as their chief academic officer bode well for her success in guiding HCPS to even greater achievement. She charted a course that resulted in bringing all VBCPS schools across the line to accreditation and in making equity a driving principle in the day-to-day operations of the school system. I believe she will be able to forge meaningful, collaborative relationships with our staff and the greater Henrico community as she has done so successfully in Virginia Beach.”
Cashwell is an alumna of Longwood University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and education. She earned a master’s degree in education administration and supervision from the George Washington University. Cashwell also earned a doctorate from George Washington, in education administration and policy studies. She is originally from Virginia Beach.
As superintendent, Cashwell oversees the Division Leadership Team, or DLT, which is comprised of the departments of Instruction, Instructional Support, Finance and Administration, Operations, Human Resources, and Communications and Public Relations, and Equity and Diversity.
Henrico County Public Schools is the sixth largest public school division in the Commonwealth of Virginia. HCPS has 72 schools and program centers serving more than 50,000 students.
Click here to see “Amy’s Passport”,
a collection of travels, reflections and next steps from her first 100 days.
A brief conversation with Dr. Amy Cashwell:
This introductory interview with Dr. Amy Cashwell was conducted in June 2018 when she accepted the position as Henrico Schools’ superintendent.
What attracted you to Henrico County?
Henrico County Public Schools has always had a reputation for academic excellence and innovation. During my 20-plus years as an educator, I’ve come to know Henrico for a number of reasons. I’ve collaborated with the staff here on various projects, from preschool implementation to alternative behavior programs, and have just known the reputation Henrico has across the state. I was also drawn to Henrico’s approach to innovation. I’m interested in early technology adoption, but I think of innovation as not just about technology, but about being forward-thinking
Tell us a little bit about the vision you’re developing for the school division?
Community is important to me, so as I begin my time in Henrico, I’ll be excited to get to know the community at large – including the business community, the broader educational community and higher ed institutions – and think about how we can work together to strengthen opportunities for students in Henrico County Public Schools. It will be important to develop those community connections and get a sense of what the broader community sees as needs and priorities. How can we create strong connections, pathways, opportunities and internships? That’s very important to me.
I absolutely understand that I’ll have big shoe to fill, and I certainly want to continue Henrico’s tradition of academic excellence. Certainly the school division has made great strides in reaching full state accreditation for all its schools. A priority for me and part of my vision is to help all schools across the county achieve the same level of academic excellence and meet those state benchmarks. That will give us a level playing field and an equitable situation for students, no matter which school they attend in Henrico County.
Obviously you’re just getting to know Henrico, but at first glance, are there some things you see as similarities with Virginia Beach, and things that appear as differences?
One similarity seems to be the high value that both organizations place on staff and the staff being a family. I’ve seen the school division’s “Heart of Henrico” features on the website. That’s the kind of thing that shows that the school division recognizes the importance of the individuals who make up the organization, no matter their role. Whether you’re driving a bus, in a food line or in front of a classroom, we all make up this learning community. That strong sense of community and family within Henrico Schools is something that is also present in Virginia Beach and it’s something that is important to me.
Another similarity is this idea of creating a robust network of pathways and opportunities for students, particularly in the secondary arena. We have a strong academy structure that runs throughout our secondary schools, and Henrico also offers a variety of paths for students, in your high schools and your technical and career education centers. Henrico’s industry credentialing is top tier. When we look at what’s happening across Virginia, that’s one area I also see as part of my vision – creating even stronger networks and pathways, and I think Henrico has some rich opportunities, given its location. Both school divisions have been trailblazers in terms of industry credentialing and certifications for students leaving school with those “stackable” credentials that they can take anywhere into the workplace and into higher ed.
That said, I certainly recognize that every community is unique. I would never propose to take things out of Virginia Beach and put them here in ready-made, cookie cutter form. Certainly I was involved in a lot of innovative, exciting projects there and I think I bring that spirit of innovation and creativity to Henrico, but for me it’s going to be knowing the community, connecting with what’s important here and working together to continue moving forward.
What are some things you’d like people here to know about you?
I am a passionate educator. I am an avid advocate for public education. Even though I left the classroom many years ago, I think of myself as a teacher at heart. I’m here for the students – I’m student-centered. My decision-making is very much based on thinking about opportunities for students and providing equitable opportunities.
What can HCPS staff members and people in the community expect as this school year concludes and as the new one gets underway?
They can expect a smooth transition. They can expect to be able to rely on the excellence that they’ve recognized and helped build up to this point. They can expect to see me – a lot of me, I hope – out in the schools and in the community. I’m a hands-on individual. I like to be as connected as possible to the learning environments and see things first-hand. I recognize it will be summer when I come in but I will certainly be taking opportunities to get to know as many staff members and other groups as possible. And of course I’m really looking forward to fall and connecting with students.