Frederick schools hires new principals

Posted: May 22, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Frederick County Public Schools has hired two new elementary school principals to begin this fall.

The announcement was made at a School Board meeting on Tuesday at the administration office on Amherst Street.

Crystal Nicola, 33, will become the principal at Orchard View Elementary School, and Joe Strong, 36, will take over at Bass-Hoover Elementary School.

Nicola will succeed Susan Bott, who is retiring at the end of the year after serving as principal of the school since its opening in July 2000. Bott has spent 39 years in Frederick County Public schools.

Nicola began her career in Frederick County in 2001 as a third-grade teacher at Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School. She then taught at Middletown Elementary School until taking the assistant principal position at Orchard View in 2009, according to a division press release.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the many traditions at Orchard View,” she said. “Promoting excellence in academics and always putting our students first.”

Strong will come to Bass-Hoover from Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School, where he’s served as the principal for the past eight years.

He succeeds Vicki Smith, who decided not to return as Bass Hoover’s principal after four years in the position, according to the release.

Strong taught in Warren County for one year and began his career in Frederick County in 2000 as a teacher at Redbud Run Elementary School. After four years, Strong became the assistant principal at the school. In 2005, he became the principal.

“I’m excited for the new opportunity and the new challenge,” Strong said. “Apple Pie Ridge was a good home, but it’s time for a career change and a new opportunity.”

Sen. Jill H. Vogel, R-Upperville, presented a plaque with a Senate resolution on it at Tuesday’s meeting on behalf of former board member Jim Harmon, who died in early February of cancer. The resolution applauded Harmon for his dedication to education as both a board member, music teacher and choral director.

“We miss him,” Chairman Stuart Wolk said after the presentation. “Every meeting we miss him.”

Present at the meeting were Chairman Stuart Wolk, Vice-Chairman Benjamin Waterman and members Peggy Clark, Frank Wright, Jody Wall, John Lamanna and Michael Lake.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at