DATE: March 10, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
First Community Meeting of Sutherland Name Review Committee on Wednesday, March 25, Will Seek Opinions on Proposed Names
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The Sutherland Middle School Community Advisory Committee, which is reviewing the name of the school, will holds its first community meeting on Wednesday, March 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the school.
Beginning today, parents, staff and students who attend or live in the Sutherland attendance zone and the school’s three elementary feeder schools, Baker-Butler, Hollymead, and Stony Point, are being asked to suggest preferred names for the school. Respondents are asked to propose names for the school that are consistent with the school division’s values of excellence, young people, community, and respect. Those names can be submitted in an online survey at https://survey.k12insight.com/r/mo7SiC.
For those without access to the Internet, paper copies of the survey, in English and Spanish, are available in the main offices of Sutherland, Baker-Butler, Hollymead, and Stony Point. There also is an email address, SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org, for those wishing to send comments to the advisory committee.
March 25 will be the first of two community meetings. Participants will be asked to comment on any of the names that will have been submitted by then and, following the meeting, the advisory committee will decide upon 10 names that will receive further consideration. These names will be the subject of the second community meeting, which will be in April.
“Community input on this list of names, together with the committee’s research, will be very important in determining the three names that will be recommended to the Superintendent as finalists,” said Jasmine Fernández, who serves as the committee leader.
Following receipt of the advisory committee’s list of three finalist names, the Superintendent, Dr. Matthew Haas, will make his recommendation on the school’s name to the School Board.
Sutherland Middle School is the second school in the division to have its name reviewed following the School Board’s decision to have Dr. Haas evaluate all schools named for individuals. Of the division’s 25 schools, 14 are named for individuals.
Members of the advisory committee include principal Megan Wood and committee leader, Jasmine Fernández. Also serving are three committee members from the Sutherland faculty, Monica Cabarcas, Cabell Guy, and Megan Jackson, and three parents of Sutherland students, Amanda Davis, Chrishawana Hunter, and Brian Johns.
Two committee members live in the school community but do not have students attending Sutherland, Pamela Lockhart and Andrew Thomas, and three parents have children who attend elementary schools that feed into Sutherland, Nicole Ganoe, Kimberly Maupin, and Marion Wood. The committee also includes a student representative who will work closely with Sutherland students in the design of activities that will keep students informed of the advisory committee’s progress and elicit name suggestions.
“We urge all members of our Sutherland and feeder school communities to provide their opinions on what the name of their school should be going forward,” Fernández said. “Dr. Haas has noted how unusual it is for students, staff and parents to participate in the naming process of their school. Similar surveys and community meetings added a great deal to the decision to rename Cale, and we welcome a diversity of thought as the committee completes its important work,” she added.
Mortimer Sutherland was a teacher and later principal in the school division, retiring in 1946. Between 1954 and 1962, he served on the Albemarle County School Board and then the Board of Supervisors. The middle school bearing his name was built in 1994.
The advisory committee will have the option of keeping the school’s current name as one of the three finalists. In that event, the School Board’s policy requires the committee to examine if Sutherland made contributions to the community that are of state, national, or world-wide significance. It also requires committee members to determine if his personal and professional life exemplified the school division’s four values.
The school division has created a web page that provides current information on its school name reviews and updates on its progress in meeting the School Board’s direction. The page can be accessed at https://www.k12albemarle.org/acps/division/school-naming-review/Pages/default.aspx.