Clint Mitchell

Spotsylvania hires Colonial Beach’s Mitchell as next superintendent

by | Jun 24, 2024 | ALLFFP, Schools & Education, Spotsylvania

Clint Mitchell is making a dramatic leap in his career as an educator.   

For the past two years, Mitchell was the superintendent of Colonial Beach Public Schools, a division with two total schools and 625 students.

The Spotsylvania County School Board announced Monday night that it is hiring Mitchell as its next superintendent. He’ll be charged with overseeing 34 schools and more than 24,000 students. 

Mitchell comes to Spotsylvania with a vast background in education, including working as a principal in Fairfax County Public Schools, as well as stints as a public schools teacher and assistant principal. He also worked as an adjunct professor at James Madison University. 

In Spotsylvania, he faces not only a dramatic increase in educational scale but will also take direction from a school board that has been embroiled in controversy the past few years. On Monday, for example, one board member faces a trial for an assault and battery charge filed by another. 

Mitchell takes over Aug. 1 and has meet and greet sessions with division staff scheduled in July. He will replace interim superintendent Kelly Guempel, who stepped in after Mark Taylor was fired in March. 

“Since January, this school board has done a lot of work,” said board member Nicole Cole, who will face trial Monday on allegations she assaulted fellow board member Lisa Phelps. “It hasn’t been without challenges, struggles and some missteps, but we are always moving forward to better … I am ecstatic that we now have a new superintendent with significant education background and leadership experience.” 

Mitchell, a native of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, immigrated to New York at age 14 and attended Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn. He graduated from Brooklyn College, City University of New York with a degree in political science and philosophy in 1998. He went on to earn two master’s degrees — one in urban policy and public administration from Brooklyn College and another in education leadership from George Mason. He later earned a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from Virginia Tech. He also holds an AASA-Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy Certificate.

“It is an honor to be selected as the next Spotsylvania County Public Schools superintendent,” Mitchell said. “I look forward to meeting and collaborating with Spotsylvania students, staff, families, and community members. My first priority will be conducting listening sessions across the county to ensure that I have a great understanding of the traditions, values, strengths, challenges, and needs in order to lead the development of a strategic plan that takes the school division to the next level.”

In 2013, Mitchell was presented with The Washington Post’s Distinguished Educational Leadership Award. He was also selected as the Prince William County principal of the year. 

In 2021, the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary Schools honored him with the National Distinguished Principal Award.   Mitchell serves as a member of the Governor’s Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) task force on chronic absenteeism, chairs the Virginia Alliance of Black School Educators membership committee, is the Region 3 Virginia Association of School Superintendent’s professional development lead, and is a principal advisor for Share Our Strength-No Kid Hungry regarding best practices to address student chronic absenteeism and the impacts of food insecurity on students.

“Dr. Mitchell brings experience, enthusiasm for public education, and a solid commitment to fostering a positive interaction and culture for students and staff,” School Board Chair Lorita Daniels said. We look forward to his expertise in community-building and new ideas to help carry out SCPS’s mission of preparing our students for their future while also promoting a student-centered learning experience for all students.”

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