Dr. David W. Gaston, who has served as principal of two WJCC schools since joining the Division in 2004 and brings a total of 20 years of administrative and in-classroom experience, has been appointed WJCC’s senior director for specialized educational services, Acting Superintendent Scott Burckbuchler has announced.
Effective Jan. 1, Dr. Gaston replaces Dr. Stephen J. Chantry, who announced his retirement after serving more than six years as the executive director of Student Services. Karen Swann, who served as Berkeley Middle School’s assistant principal for three years, and as a hearing officer in the Student Services Department,
is appointed interim principal at Berkeley, effective Jan. 1.
“Dr. Gaston has demonstrated outstanding leadership in his role as principal of both an elementary school and a middle school during his time with WJCC,” noted Dr. Burckbuchler.
“His breadth of experience with a broad range of students well suits him to serve as the leader of our reorganized and newly-named Specialized Educational Services department.”
As senior director, Dr. Gaston’s key responsibility will be the oversight of the Division’s specialized educational services, including special education programs, discipline hearings, working with community service agencies, social workers and psychologists, and supervising Health Services and the Student Health Initiative Program (SHIP).
Dr. Gaston most recently served as principal of Berkeley Middle School, a position he has held since 2007. Before that, he served as either principal or assistant principal for nine years at five schools in the Hampton Roads region, including James River Elementary School, Burbank Elementary School in Hampton, Mt. Vernon Elementary School in York County, and at York High School in its International Baccalaureate Program. He also taught social studies at Bruton High School in York County for seven years from 1990 to 1997, and served for one year as high school teacher-in-residence at the York County School Division’s Central Office. In addition to his public school duties, Dr. Gaston also teaches courses at Old Dominion University.
Dr. Gaston earned his bachelor’s degree in government and history, a master’s degree in secondary school instruction (social studies) and a doctorate degree in educational policy, planning and leadership and general administration, all from the College of William & Mary.
Ms. Swann earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and educational planning, policy and leadership, respectively, at the College of William & Mary. She first joined W-JCC as a volunteer and tutor at Berkeley Middle School’s after-school program (Project D.I.V.A.) in 2001, which she and her sorority sisters helped implement and develop.
She joined the Toano Middle School staff as an English teacher in 2002, teaching for three years and serving as English instructor during the 2003 and 2004 summer sessions. From August, 2005, through December, 2006, Ms. Swann served as a graduate assistant at W&M during the completion of her master’s degree, returning to Toano in the summer of 2006 as a lead teacher during the summer session. Before becoming Berkeley’s assistant principal in 2007, she was the assessment and compliance coordinator at Bruton High School in York County, where she assumed the responsibility of testing coordinator, provided assistance in remediation for students needing to earn verified credits in order to graduate, and other administrative duties.
Ms. Swann has been volunteering as a facilitator and instructor with the Rites of Passage program at Toano Middle School since 2003. Weekly, she develops lessons and activities in manhood and womanhood training for at-promise middle school students.