Category Archives: Back To School

Welcome to Hollymead 2018

Dear Hollymead Community,

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year!  I’m so excited to start my first year here at Hollymead.  I believe in the power of students to embrace their learning through curiosity, and the power of teachers to inspire it.  This is my 15th year in Albemarle County, and I have been a teacher, math specialist, Lead Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal, and Principal.  I enjoy listening to all stakeholders, and figuring out how to help a school best support its students and community.

The focus at Hollymead on meeting the academic, social, and emotional goals of children is something that has inspired me this summer.  I’ve spoken with many parents, teachers, and some students, and it is extremely evident in those conversations, how much care is taken with the learning of students.  The community is active in making the school a special place, and the teachers are dedicated to each student. These are admirable qualities in any school.

This year, I’ll be spending a lot of time listening and learning from all of you about Hollymead and what makes it special.  In addition, I’m interested in how we can engage students in learning that they are curious about while making sure that they are all growing skills that will help them in their future schooling and beyond.  I’ll be asking students about their passions, what excites them about learning, and how we can make them more excited to be at school. I am planning to share some of those stories in this space throughout the year, as well as on the Hollymead twitter feed @HornetNews.

Throughout the year, I hope that you’ll come to the school to see learning, to volunteer in a classroom, to attend a PTO event, or to just share your thoughts.  I know that this community has a lot of built-in expertise, and I’m hoping that some of you will come to see how you can share that expertise with our students. Hollymead is a great place to be, but I’m sure that by working together we can make it even better!  Thank you for your commitment and your support of our students and our school.



2017-18 Back To School at Hollymead

Dear Hollymead Families,

The excitement is building. For a couple of weeks teachers have been in and out of the building planning and organizing classrooms in order to make sure we are ready for a great start to the school Year. It is a most wonderful time of year when we are all excited to learn and grow with our new classes!

We have a couple of changes in staff at Hollymead this year. As you may already know, Megan Kopley will be our new guidance counselor. She has many years of experience as a counselor and a classroom teacher. She is excited to get to know students, families and staff.

The lower numbers in grades kindergarten and first grade are moving up and there will only be three classroom teachers in second grade this year. Mr. Bernhardt is moving to 4th grade and Ms. Groeber-Fard is going to 5th grade.

All students at Hollymead will be using a new math program this year called ST Math. The “ST” stands for spatial temporal because they have to manipulate images in their mind in order to solve math problems. ST Math has been used in Albemarle County Title I schools for the last five years and has helped them be successful. In fact, the research shows that students who are using ST Math grow significantly in their mathematical achievement. This web-based program begins teaching concepts non-linguistically and then connects to symbols and language. This is a standards-aligned program that allows students to move forward as they master each level. Teachers have control over what students are working on and monitor student progress so that they can help when students are stuck. Each grade level will decide how ST Math will fit into their math classrooms. ST Math can be used whole class and/or in a center rotation. ST Math is designed to be challenging and will help us continue with our emphasis on “failing up”. We try to help everyone understand that you have to be willing to fail sometimes in order to learn.

We will continue our work on Project Based Learning. Our goal is to give students more opportunities to use creativity and critical thinking to learn and demonstrate their learning. Some PBL will give students more control and choices over what they are learning. Teachers will be developing opportunities for students while also sharing and receiving feedback on the PBL offered from colleagues.

As you know, we work to emphasize Hollymead CARES in all the work that we do. CARES stands for cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. We know that you are also teaching these things at home and together we will help our community be a place we can be proud of.

Please contact me if for any questions or concerns. You can reach me by phone, 434 973-8301; by email at; or in person at school.

Nancy Teel


Hollymead Elementary School