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Henrico HS principal honored with REB Leadership Award; Colonial Trail ES principal is runner-up

Karin Castillo-Rose, principal of Henrico High School, has been awarded the 2022-23 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership.

Trevor Dickerson

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Karin Castillo-Rose, principal of Henrico High School, has been awarded the 2022-23 REB Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The Community Foundation and the REB Foundation present the award to four principals annually — one each from the school divisions of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and one from the city of Richmond. Castillo-Rose was surprised with the news Tuesday afternoon at a pep rally in the school’s gym, attended by her family and Henrico County Public Schools leaders.

Castillo-Rose will receive a $10,000 cash grant and an additional $20,000 for school projects. She plans to use the bulk of her funding for projects that support students’ mental, social and emotional well-being. The grant will fund student grief support groups; classes in social and emotional learning; a labyrinth garden and a “Warrior Farm” flower and vegetable garden, both to promote mindfulness; yoga classes; and outdoor recreation and socialization spaces.

Kevin Schatz, principal of Colonial Trail Elementary School, was runner-up for the award. He will receive a $10,000 grant to build a cricket practice facility accessible to students of varying abilities, including students who use wheelchairs. The facility at Colonial Trail will serve as the centerpiece of a new cricket league for students with disabilities. Cricket is a popular sport in the community served by the school.

The REB award recognizes principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their jobs to create an exceptional educational environment. The award stresses management and communication skills, and the ability to inspire, encourage and advocate for the school. Nominees must have served as principal at their school for at least three years.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Castillo-Rose told the crowd Tuesday. “Thank you to the students, because it is your student voice that pushes me every day to think outside the box. [Thank you] for advocating for yourselves. Thank you to the staff and sponsors who listen to the students and push me to push further, and for making sure that it is all about the students, all the time, every day. Behold the green and gold!”

Castillo-Rose has been principal at the school since 2015, after serving as assistant principal from 2012-15. Before that she was an administrative intern and teacher at Varina High School and a teacher with New York City Public Schools. She served in the U.S. Army before embarking on a career in public education. Originally from New York City, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a master’s from Mercy College in New York and an education specialist degree from the University of Virginia. She is currently a doctoral student at Virginia Tech.

Schatz became principal of Colonial Trail in 2018. Before that he served as associate principal at Shady Grove, Charles Johnson and Nuckols Farm elementary schools. He began his career as a teacher at Nuckols Farm when the school opened in 1997. Schatz is originally from Denver and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Boulder.c

“This is a testament to the school, the school community and everybody involved,” Schatz said. “Everybody’s focus is on belonging, but more importantly, trying to find opportunities for those students and those families who are furthest from opportunity. That’s what we do every single day, and I’m so proud.”

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.