Loudoun Names Gabriel Principal of the Year

John Gabriel, the principal of John Champe High School, is Loudoun County’s 2017 Principal of the Year and the county’s nominee for the Washington Post Outstanding Principal Award.

At Monday’s School Board meeting, board members praised Gabriel for creating a successful school community in a rapidly growing area.

“When I asked you if you could handle a few more kids—a few more middle school in your high school—you said ‘we can make it work,’” Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said. “You always make it work. Thank you so much for what you’re doing, and I look forward to many more years in the future.”

Rachel Clark, who graduated from Champe in 2015, said that Gabriel has been invested in relationships with students, their families and faculty since the school’s doors first opened in 2012. “As president of the Class of 2015 for the three years we were at Champe, I had the opportunity to work closely with Mr. Gabriel on several occasions and see for myself the kind of committed and caring leader we had running our school,” she wrote in her nomination letter.

Addressing the School Board on Monday, Gabriel thanked those who nominated him for the award and especially the students of John Champe High School.

“I think the underpinning of a good school is the relationships,” he said, adding, “Students don’t want to know what you know until they know that you care.”

Gabriel has served as John Champe’s principal since 2011 when he began a year of planning for the school’s opening. He previously worked as an assistant principal at Park View High School; English Department chairman at Falls Church High School; as an English teacher at North Stafford High School; and as an English teacher at Lodi High School in New Jersey. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Mary Washington College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from George Mason University.

He has also authored three books: “How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader,” “How to Help Your School Thrive (Without Breaking the Bank)” and “Dealing With the Tough Stuff (Practical Solutions for School Administrators).”

Past recipients of the Loudoun County Principal of the Year Award include:

  • Mary Lee Phelps (1986)
  • Bernice M. Nicewicz (1987)
  • William L. Whitmore Jr. (1988)
  • Francis R. Fera (1989)
  • Terrence W. Hill (1990)
  • Dennis A. Young (1991)
  • Kenneth W. Culbert (1992)
  • Michael A. Megeath (1993)
  • Ronald E. Dyer (1994)
  • James E. Person (1996)
  • Mary B. Morris (1997)
  • Wayne C. Mills (1998)
  • Charles J. Haydt (1999)
  • Laurie C. McDonald (2000)
  • Nancy E. McManus (2001)
  • Dr. Virginia M. Minshew (2002)
  • Dr. Edgar T. Markley (2003)
  • Dr. Susan P. Browning (2004)
  • Dr. Jack Robinson (2005)
  • Margaret Huckaby (2006)
  • Eric L. Stewart (2007)
  • Paul Vickers (2009)
  • Dr. John Brewer (2010)
  • Timothy J. Flynn (2011)
  • James Dallas (2012)
  • Janet Platenberg (2013)
  • Andrew Davis (2014)
  • Sherryl Loya (2015)
  • Michael Pellegrino (2016)

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