VINTON–Last year William Byrd Middle School was honored as a “School to Watch” under the leadership of Tammy Newcomb.” New principal Todd Kageals plans to continue the progress the school has made during the years with Newcomb as principal. She has now moved next door to William Byrd High School as their new principal.
Kageals has served as assistant principal at WBMS since 2004. He has lived in the Vinton area his entire life. He grew up on Belle Avenue off of King Street and originally attended Roland E. Cook Elementary. He believes he and Newcomb may have attended kindergarten together there. When Belle Avenue was annexed into Roanoke City, he and his sister made the change from Roanoke County Schools to Roanoke Catholic.
He went on to graduate from William Fleming High School, and earn his Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in educational leadership from Radford University. He is endorsed in K-12 administration and supervision by the Virginia Department of Education. He joined Roanoke County Schools as a science teacher at Hidden Valley Junior High School (now Hidden Valley Middle) in 1994.
His wife Amy grew up in Salem and manages the Carilion Children’s Child Development Clinic and Pediatric Therapies. They have two children at W.E. Cundiff and live just about a mile away from WBMS.
Kageals started out at Virginia Western studying accounting, rethought his plans, and transferred to Radford. His sister was majoring in education at there and influenced him to begin taking education courses himself. He realized he enjoyed working with children and seeing their successes. Having been an accounting student, it made sense for him to choose a math/science concentration in teaching and he came to love teaching eighth grade lab-based science.
He chose to work with middle-school aged children because there were more opportunities for employment with that unique age group at the time. He now has 22 years in education.
He says he “loves working with middle school kids because you never know what they will come up with; they are endlessly entertaining; and there is never a dull moment.” It helps to have a good sense of humor.
He got a teaching job out of college—a package deal which came with a job coaching football. He had no experience in coaching at the time, but ended up spending 10 years as head coach at Hidden Valley Junior High.
He says he had never really considered becoming an administrator but was encouraged by Dr. B. J. Brewer, then the assistant principal at Hidden Valley, who recognized that he had the personality and leadership qualities of a successful administrator.
Kageals says he is grateful to have been given the position at WBMS. He wanted to work here in the Vinton community. When Newcomb left, everything fell into place, and he feels very blessed by the circumstances.
He does not envision major changes at WBMS. He would just like “to maintain the great things already in place—to preserve and enhance.” He plans to spend his first year as principal “assessing where we are and where we need to be.” This year the focus of the entire school will be on reading—a statewide focus as well.
Kageals is joined by new assistant principal Matthew Coe and several new faculty and staff members.
Coe joined Roanoke County Schools in 2004 as a teacher at Northside High School. He worked in Craig County Schools from 2011 through 2013 in administration and as the athletic director. He has administrative experience on both the middle school and high school level as Craig County combines grades six through twelve in one facility. He returned to teach World Geography and AP/dual enrollment U.S. History at WBHS in 2013 where he also served as Social Studies Department Chair.
His wife teaches in Salem. They have three children, ages 10, 7, and 4.
Originally from Lebanon, Virginia, Coe has a Bachelor’s degree in history from Emory and Henry University and a Master’s from Virginia Tech, as well as an endorsement in educational leadership and supervision from the VDOE.
Coe says he went into the field of education because of role models—teachers and a football coach who made a big difference in his life. He decided to become an administrator in hopes that he could make an even bigger difference on a wider scale.
At WBMS, Coe will serve as sixth grade principal, dealing with discipline and teacher supervision on that grade level. He will also serve as athletic director. In addition, he will deal with building operations, textbooks, and security.
At WBMS each grade level is supervised by a different administrator. Coe works primarily with sixth grade, assistant principal Amy Duff with seventh, and Kageals with eighth. Each year the administrator rotates with their grade level which allows for consistency with students, so next year Coe will move up with his students to seventh grade.
Coe says he enjoys working with middle school age children because they are at a crossroads for what decisions they will make and what direction they will go—an opportunity for him to make a big difference in their lives.
He says he is thankful for being given the position at WBMS. As a teacher at WBHS he was aware of the quality of students the middle school produces, of the reputation for providing a quality education that the WBMS staff has earned.
Kageals said that Coe had a great interview for the job with openings in administration all over the county this spring. He was chosen for his administrative experience and his personality—“a good fit for the staff and community.”