When Carolyn Clement talks about her goals as the principal of Lucketts Elementary, “happy” is the word she uses most often.
“I am focused on instruction and making sure kids are achieving. My goal 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 began her role as Lucketts’ principal in February, 2014 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 said she realizes taking over an established school – as opposed to opening a new one – will be a very different experience. One thing about her principal 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… Some students need to be challenged and enriched. We need to address those individual needs.
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 and differentiate 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. It will be my job to make sure we are focusing on the child and not worrying about our own feelings and our own beliefs. We’re really looking at what’s best for each child.
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 learning what they need to learn.”