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Clement
Mrs. Clement
 
When Carolyn Clement talks about her goals as the new principal of Lucketts Elementary, “happy” is the word she uses most often.

“I am definitely focused on instruction and making sure kids are achieving. My love is for people to be happy; people to be happy at work – meaning the teachers and staff – kids to be happy coming to school every day. When people are happy and excited to be there and they have that enthusiasm for learning and teaching, they are going to perform better. I want everyone to leave fifth grade going to sixth grade feeling good about their skills, feeling good about their friendships, feeling good about having been a part of the Lucketts community.”

Clement begins her role as Lucketts’ principal on February 10th after serving as the assistant principal at Kenneth W. Culbert Elementary since its opening in 2009. She replaces Brenda Blue, who retired.

It’s hard to talk to Clement for any length of time without feeling her enthusiasm for education in general and Loudoun County in particular.

“I raised my children in Loudoun. I’m really proud to be a part of Loudoun County Public Schools. I’ve been here since I started my career. I’m not close to being done yet. I’m happy coming to work every day. I can’t wait to come to work. I can’t wait to see the teachers, see them working with kids. I have a joy from being with kids. When I see them learning and see them happy to be here, when I get those hugs; there’s nothing better.”

Clement stresses that she’s a student herself (her latest endeavors are learning to speak Spanish and knitting). “I like to learn new things. I spend a lot of time learning about education, learning about instruction… Hopefully that will rub off on others.”

Clement said she realizes taking over an established school – as opposed to opening a new one – will be a very different experience.

“We had the opportunity to mesh everybody and come up with a new ‘This is what we’re going to be. This is our personality (at Culbert Elementary).’ Going in to Lucketts, it will be great; they already have the community feel. They already have the established practices. It will be my job to get in there and see what’s happening and how I can make it what my vision is for an elementary school.”

Clement began her educational career as a speech/language pathologist. (She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in speech/language pathology from James Madison University.) Clement started her school-level administrative career as an administrative intern at Seldens Landing Elementary.

She knows the principal’s role will be much different than her previous administrative assignments. “As an assistant principal, I do so much with special education; that’s really my main job... As a principal, I get to be the instructional leader for everybody.”

One thing about her new role won’t change. “It’s nice to get to know families. It’s all about the connections you make with people.”

Clement said her background in special education has taught her that every child has specialized needs that must be addressed. “Every child is different. It doesn’t matter if the child has been identified as special ed. or they’re just in a place where they need a little extra help or maybe something’s happening at home where they need a little TLC… We need to look at those individual needs. My training in special ed. has really given me a good feel of how to do that; how to help teachers do that.”

Making sure teachers take advantage of all the support offered them (school psychologists, educational diagnosticians, SEARCH and English language learner teachers) is something Clement will make a mission as principal. “We have so many resources in this county – if we work as a team. We need to tap into those resources and people who can help us individualize instruction.”

While emphasizing individual instruction and challenging students academically, Clement said she will not neglect the Virginia Standards of Learning.

“Standardized tests are important. We can get (students) to pass. We can get them to where they need to be. What we need to do is make sure they still enjoy learning, regardless. We need to get that growth mindset for everybody, whether it’s the kids, teachers, parents; we’re working on everyone working and growing.”

Clement wants parents to know something about her style as an administrator.

“I’m going to listen to them; that I listen and care about what they think. I care about what is happening for their student. My focus is going to be on the child. Sometimes, teachers or parents think they know what is best and it will be my job to make sure we are focusing on the child and not just worrying about our own feelings and our own beliefs. We’re really looking at what’s best for the child.

“If they know I’m listening to them and that I care about their child first, that’s the main thing.”

Clement wants parents to know that, as a parent of two Loudoun graduates, she knows what they’re going through.

“I have had the situation where I’ve had to meet with the teacher and with the administrator; I have that perspective. I know that when people work together, we can make sure the student is doing what they need to do and learn what they need to learn.”