A Great First Day

A Great First Day
Dr. Raley Interacts with Students in Aimee Heishman's Kindergarten Class at W.W. RobinsonWe must always remember that we are here to serve the children. Everything we do must focus on the children.     
Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent
Shenandoah County Public Schools


“Great!”  That single word was Dr. Jeremy J. Raley’s response to the question:  How was your first day?  Friday, November 1, 2013, was Dr. Raley’s first day as Superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools. 

 “It was a great day,” he said.  “It began with a bus ride to school.”  

Following the school bus ride to W.W. Robinson Elementary School, Dr. Raley’s first day included visiting a W.W. Robinson kindergarten classroom, talking to students, teachers, food service workers, and transportation employees, and meeting with Central High School Principal Missy Hensley.   

 Dr. Raley WWR K
 0n his first day as Superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools, Dr. Jeremy Raley interacted with students in Aimee Heishman's Kindergarten class at W.W. Robinson Elementary School

Dr. Raley WWR K
 Dr. Raley WWR K

Dr. Raley especially enjoyed his conversations with the students.  “I seek every opportunity I can to talk to kids, especially elementary children,” he said.  “We must always remember that we are here to serve the children. Everything we do must focus on the children.”    

Dr.  Raley’s enthusiasm about his first day was also reflected in an email that greeted SCPS employees on November 1.  He wrote that he is “excited about the opportunity to serve Shenandoah County” as Superintendent and that he looks forward to working with the School Board and the community as “we build academic opportunities that promote student achievement and allow our students to become successful members of a global economy.” 

Raley also used his email as an opportunity to recognize employees.  He noted that the recent successes of the school division on state and federal measures are “a direct result of the talent and hard work of each and every employee” and that he is “humbled by the privilege to work with our caring, talented, and professional employees.” 

His message emphasized as well his concern for preparing “ALL students for a future of lifelong learning.”  He wrote, “We are preparing our students today for jobs and technologies that do not yet exist. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are giving our students the skills that they will need to be able to communicate and collaborate with others as they work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams to take on and solve the world’s challenges.  We want our students to be creative, innovative, inventive, and to look at problems in new and creative ways as they apply what they have learned in multiple subjects and disciplines.  These skills will allow our students to achieve success in any environment long after they leave our three high schools.”

Dr. Raley, who graduated as valedictorian from Fort Hill High School (1992, Cumberland, Maryland) and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Virginia, obtained his Doctorate in Education in Organizational Leadership from Shenandoah University in 2011. He currently holds endorsements in Virginia in Health and Physical Education and in Administration and Supervision.  He is also licensed and certified as a Superintendent in Virginia.  

“I am a good listener,” stated Dr. Raley, who believes his willingness to listen to all viewpoints and his ability to collaborate with others will be assets in his new role as superintendent.

To the position of Superintendent, Dr. Raley brings sixteen years of experience in education in Shenandoah County.   In 1998, he was hired to teach physical education at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  He was Assistant Principal at Ashby-Lee Elementary School for more than two years and served as principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School for six years.

In 2007, Dr. Raley was appointed Director of Finance, and in 2011, he became the Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Finance for Shenandoah County Public Schools. In both of these positions, Dr. Raley served as the division’s budget planner and manager.  A singular accomplishment came in his capacity as energy manager. He initiated the “Go Green Competition” among the County’s schools and directed the division’s energy performance contract with Ameresco.  These programs, coupled with the teamwork of all employees, resulted in the division’s saving $733,135 in utility costs since 2008-2009.

Dr. Raley views “increasing accountability with decreasing resources” as our school division’s greatest challenge.  He explained that this challenge is “reality” and said that we are not alone. Every school division shares this challenge."  

Dr. Raley believes there will be many more “great” days ahead for Shenandoah County Public Schools.    He wrote, “I am excited about the possibilities that exist for our school division both now and in the future.  Endless opportunities await us as we all work together for the mutual benefit of our community’s children in building and sustaining a world class school system.“ 

In addition to serving the school division, Dr. Raley has been active in community programs.  He was instrumental in establishing the Shenandoah Education Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of that Foundation.  Raley also volunteers with the Edinburg Woodstock Little League.

Dr. Raley and his wife Cynthia are the proud parents of two children, Hayden and Heather, who are students at W.W. Robinson Elementary School.  The Raley Family loves camping and just being outdoors enjoying nature.  

Photos by Betsy Bushong