New Principal Leads Longfellow Through Tough Year


Longfellow’s new principal, Dr. Jim Patrick, may not yet be a familiar face since we can’t see him in the halls, but he is working hard to keep things running in this challenging year.

Before he came to Longfellow, Dr. Patrick, in his role as Director of Student Activities at Lake Braddock, established many useful tools for students’ voices to be heard and for the school to get student input. For example, he created a student cabinet where he would get different students that represented different aspects of the school. He believes that it was important for the students’ voices to be heard.

“This school isn’t my school,” Dr. Patrick explained. “It’s not my school. It’s not the teachers’ school. I think it’s the students’ school, and students should have a say in their school and have a say in how things go because they’re the ones experiencing it every day.”

Dr. Patrick believes that instead of just focusing on one part of a student, like academics, we should look at the picture as a whole. Though acknowledging that academic rigor is one of our primary missions, he also wants to help students grow in other ways.

“It’s also looking at all areas we can provide to help people make better citizens, make healthy life choices, and be well rounded by being here at Longfellow. So, looking at all of that, socially, emotionally, and academically, really focusing on the whole child, not just one aspect. ”

Even with the current challenges we face, Dr. Patrick does his best to make sure that Longfellow student voices are heard.

“One of the challenges we’ve had is not just me being new; it is how we get together with these new processes to really hear that student voice,” Dr. Patrick stated. Even though we can’t all be face to face, he has tried to substitute with things like student surveys and the Sources of Strength program.

Before his stint at lake Braddock, Dr. Patrick spent eight years right here in our community at McLean High School. He taught social studies and physical education before moving into a more administrative role as Director of Student Activities.  His two years at Lake Braddock Secondary School added experience with middle school to the mix.

Overall, Dr. Patrick is a positive addition to the Longfellow community.  His leadership will make sure that the whole school rises above the current challenges we face and come back stronger than ever.