Meet Meagan Tenia, new middle school principal

Meet Meagan Tenia, new middle school principal

By Madeline Otten

Fluvanna Middle School (FMS) has a new principal: Meagan Tenia.

Tenia comes from Short Pump Middle School in Henrico County, where she was the associate principal. There, in the absence of the principal, she served as acting principal, overseeing math, electives and physical education, and utilizing assessment data to drive effective instruction in the classroom.

But after four years, Tenia felt ready for the next step in her career, so she traded the suburban area for Fluvanna’s rural one.

Before stepping into the world of education, Tenia had her thoughts set on becoming a doctor when she attended Old Dominion University (ODU). But after completing community service hours for a pre-requisite course at an elementary school where she worked specifically with one student, she fell in love with teaching and changed her major to education within her first semester.

After earning her bachelor’s, she continued her education at ODU and earned her master’s of science in education, elementary and teaching as well as her education specialist in education leadership and administration. She started her teaching career with Suffolk Public Schools in 2004, worked with Charlottesville City Schools for almost eight years, and then went to Chesterfield County Public Schools for three years. While there, Tenia worked on her doctorate of education through Virginia Commonwealth University, finishing in 2016.

“Deciding to get my administration and supervision endorsement was a pivotal decision that helped shape my life,” said Tenia. “I loved teaching – still do – and you can often find me team-teaching with teachers; however, after I had my second daughter I decided that I wanted to help shape teachers and so I got my administration and supervision endorsement.”

When Tenia first started teaching she felt strongly that students needed to learn her curriculum the way she learned. Since then, she realized that each student is different and that mastery of content is most important. She took the same philosophy in her role as an administrator, but said that if a teacher has a different idea she is willing to listen and try it their way.

For the upcoming school year, Tenia has already set some goals for FMS. She wants to continue to help students reach their potential while also building meaningful relationships with staff, students and the community. And while the challenge of time management can sneak up in any administrative role, the reward of working with students makes up for it.

Students “are the reason I do what I do and I absolutely love getting to know the students in my building,” said Tenia. “The students keep me on my toes and keep me laughing. I absolutely love what I do!”

This summer Tenia and the administrative team prepared themselves for the upcoming school year by diving into the school’s data.

“We are being thoughtful with changes we plan to implement, making sure we keep our students at the center of every decision,” said Tenia. “The real summer heroes are our custodial staff, who have been working hard to get our building ready to welcome our students and parents.”

Every morning Tenia wakes up at 5 a.m. and hits the road around 6 a.m. to ensure she arrives at school early. Her commute is a bit longer than most since she and her family still live in the Richmond area. After brewing herself a cup of coffee and grabbing breakfast, she checks her emails and calendars to get ready for the day.

“I like to move, so during the day you can find me in the hallways, at lunches and in teachers’ classrooms, and rarely you will find me in my office,” she said.

Finally, when the day is done, she will make her way home to walk her dogs, go the gym, have dinner, and help her daughters with their homework.

On the weekends, Tenia puts in hours at the gym and then spends time with family. An early riser, she also reads education articles on best practice, new research and other current topics. Some of her hobbies include running, hiking with her family, cleaning and shopping. She is a proud wife to Mark Tenia and mother of daughters Gabrielle and Marley.


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