PES Promotes Local Heroes


See DNR article and WHSV coverage.





RCPS Leaders Study at the Bay

During the summer, RCPS instructional leaders traveled to the Chesapeake Bay for hands-on field studies as part of a planning retreat focused on aligning outdoor learning with class content.

Read more here!

Trebuchet Contest in RCPS

On Saturday, November 1, students from RCPS secondary schools will compete in the first Trebuchet Competition, challenging each team to see who has constructed the most powerful and accurate trebuchet. Dr. Fenn has joined Team Montevideo Middle School and is assisting the students in the construction of their trebuchet. Students are keeping a critical eye on her work to make sure it meets their expectations for success.


MMS students help Dr. Fenn use the drill press as they work to build their trebuchet.

The Trebuchet Competition is part of the REFI Great Pumpkin Run activities at Back Home on the Farm on November 1.  Parents and students are encouraged to participate in the run or walk.

For more details, please see the Rockingham Educational Foundation’s website.


(Pics and info submitted by Ed Smith, REFI Executive Director)


Ferek a Finalist for $100,000 Grant


Cindy Ferek accepts congratulations from a Farmers Insurance executive upon learning that her proposal made it to the finalist stage for a $100,000 award.

Seventeen years ago Cindy Ferek began to dream big!  Cindy’s dream was to create a one mile paved trail around Turner Ashby High School that would allow for walking, biking, rollerblading, golf carts, and a means for students with handicapping conditions to become more physically active.  Cindy’s dream also included fruit trees around the perimeter of the path so people could eat as they exercised and lines painted on the path so driver education students can practice driving skills on bikes.

Fast-forward seventeen years to last spring when Cindy pursued a grant through Farmers Insurance Company’s “Thank a Million Teachers Program” and the Dream Big Teacher Challenge.  Not only did Cindy’s proposal meet all the standards, last week she was surprised while in class at Turner Ashby by two representatives of Farmers Insurance Company, who flew from California to inform her and principal Steve Walk that the proposal for a multi-purpose path around Turner Ashby had been selected as one of fifteen national finalists and one of three finalists on the east coast.  Cindy’s dream will be realized if the proposal is the winner of the east coast division, which means that if Cindy’s proposal gets more votes than the other two in the east coast division, Rockingham County Public Schools will receive a check for $100,000  from Farmers Insurance Company to make Cindy’s dream a reality.


The Dream Big Teacher Challenge Grant is awarded by individuals casting a vote for the proposal of their choice.  Starting on October 1st, and continuing until November 30th, individuals may visit and cast a vote for Cindy Ferek’s proposal (TWO WHEELS SQUARED DRIVING COURSE CHALLENGE) to create a multi-use trail for the students at Turner Ashby High School and the citizens of Dayton and Bridgewater.


Text and Picture Submitted by Scott Bojanich, RCPS Director of Support Services

Elks Donate Safety Glasses to RCPS


Mr. Fitzgerald (left) and Mr. Sencindiver

Eric Fitzgerald, RCPS Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE), thanks Page Sencindiver of Harrisonburg Elks #450 as he delivers over 500 pairs of safety glasses for distribution to the Rockingham County Public Schools’ CTE programs.  RCPS appreciates the community spirit and the service of the Harrisonburg Elks, as this donation benefits hundreds of students in our schools!

Harpine Recognized by VTEEA

Linda Harpine, RCPS Elementary Gifted Resource Teacher, was awarded the Academy of Scholars Citation at the 57th annual summer conference of the Virginia Technology and Engineering Educators Association held in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

The Academy of Scholars Citation is the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association’s (VTEEA) highest award. Linda is the first elementary educator and the first female to receive this honor. To qualify, the individual must have gained prominence in and brought honor to the profession of technology and engineering education, served in leadership roles, and led professional development activities at the local, state and international levels.  Linda has served on the Virginia Children’s Engineering council since its inception in 1996 and has been a member and board member of the state and international Technology and Engineering Educators Associations. At James Madison University she teaches Children’s Engineering classes at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She is a member of the RCPS Children’s Engineering Training Team that provides STEM integration workshops for all RCPS elementary schools.  Linda is beginning her 44th year of teaching in Rockingham County Public Schools.


Patricai Fazzi (VTEEA board member), George Willcox (Virginia State Department of Education), Linda Harpine and daughter, Andrea Adams



RCPS Board Taps Shifflett as Director of Innovation and Learning

Rockingham County Public School Board Appoints Director of Innovation and Learning


Dr. Larry Shifflett

The Rockingham County Public School Board is excited to introduce Dr. Larry Shifflett as the new Director of Innovation and Learning for the school division.  Dr. Shifflett began his career with Rockingham County Public Schools in 1997 as a social studies teacher and coach at Wilbur S. Pence Middle School.  He served in this role for five years before becoming a school administrator in 2002.  After working for one year as an administrative intern at Peak View Elementary School, Dr. Shifflett served four years as assistant principal at Montevideo Middle School.  In July 2007, he was appointed as principal of South River Elementary School.  During his tenure, the school became one of the most decorated in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These recognitions include: National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award in 2012, Highly Distinguished Title I Award in 2013, Distinguished Title I Award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014, Governor’s Award of Educational Excellence in 2009, and the Board of Education’s Excellence Award in 2011.

Dr. Shifflett is a 1990 graduate of Spotswood High School.  He graduated from James Madison University in 1995 as a history major and later returned to JMU to earn his Master’s in Education, with a concentration in middle school, in 1999.  Recently, Dr. Shifflett completed his Doctorate of Education degree from The Curry School of Education at The University of Virginia.  While a student at UVA, he was honored with the William H. Seawell Memorial Award in 2012.

As Director of Innovation and Learning, Dr. Shifflett will provide visionary leadership to the instructional programs in Rockingham County Public Schools, helping to implement and enhance innovative ideas that will prepare students for life and careers in the 21st century.  In this role, Dr. Shifflett will join with other division leaders to implement the School Board initiative of “Digital Conversion”.  In this program, to be implemented over the next five years, the School Board is committed to providing a technology device, such as a laptop computer or tablet, to every teacher and student in grades 3-12.  Digital learning, along with progressive instructional practices, will transform the Rockingham County Schools and create learning environments that are even more connected, relevant, collaborative and personalized to meet the needs of students.