Journeying into a new school year

School Ways

I am humbled and excited to be superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, my home for more than 29 years. I look forward to continuing my service to this great school division with humility and a sense of purpose. 

As I transitioned to this new role, I did so knowing that with the input and guidance of our parents, staff, students and community members, we would advance Newport News Public Schools — together. 

In fact, we have already begun this important work, from establishing advisory committees to enhance family engagement, augment school safety and evaluate student rights and responsibilities, to cultivating positive relationships with our community, bolstering transparency and communication and continuing the forward movement of our strategic mission to ensure all students graduate college, career and citizen-ready. 

Through school and worksite visits, community meetings and leadership forums, I have benefitted from rich conversations and input which have shaped our collective goals and informed my priorities for the journey ahead.

Cultivate positive relationships 

During the past several months, I have talked with and heard from students and their family members, teachers and other staff, and residents who shared their concerns and offered ideas for building stronger bonds. 

Through advisory committees and listening sessions, I will engage our community and leverage that input and expertise to enhance student learning and success. 

Ensure safety and security in our schools

Another priority is to identify those areas that need to be revised and implement clear action steps to ensure the safety of our students and staff. 

Over the past several months, Newport News Public Schools has increased safety measures to include adding more school security officers to ensure coverage at all schools, installing weapons-detection systems at all schools, conducting a safety audit and hiring a former FBI chief as executive director of crisis planning, prevention and environmental risk management, and an experienced director of school safety to heighten school and office safety.

Continue the work of Journey 2025, a Strategic Plan to College, Career and Citizen-Readiness

Each day in Newport News Public Schools, the focus is on one mission: ensuring all students graduate college, career and citizen-ready. To accomplish this, I am committed to advancing our strategic plan, which focuses on five strategic goals:

  • Student Success: Engaging and challenging all students in authentic, rigorous and culturally relevant learning experiences that foster innovation and critical thinking.
  • Student and Staff Wellness: Creating an environment that promotes the social, emotional and physical well-being for students and employees.
  • Employee Expertise: Cultivating a premier workforce by prioritizing adult learning and innovation.
  • Enhanced Partnerships: Fostering an active partnership network among schools, families and the community that mutually support the advancement, success and well-being of our students.
  • Stewardship of Resources: Making financial and human capital decisions with a focus on student and staff needs, organizational data and equitable practices.

I am honored to serve this community as superintendent of schools. I pledge to keep our community engaged and informed in the important work of educating our students. 

About Dr. Michele Mitchell 3 Articles
Dr. Michele Mitchell is interim superintendent of Newport News Public Schools. She can be reached at