The Loudoun County School Board approved HS-6's first principal at its May 14 meeting.
John Duellman, the current principal of Mercer Middle School in Aldie, will be the principal of Loudoun's 14th high school, slated to open in the fall of 2014 in Loudoun Valley Estates.
“I like the idea about starting a school and starting a school culture from the ground up, especially in a community as outstanding as Brambleton,” Duellman said.
As his well-decorated office would suggest, Duellman attended Ohio State University, where he majored in English education. After college, he taught middle school English in California and earned his master's in administration from Azusa Pacific University.
In 1995, Duellman located to Loudoun County. He taught for one year at Broad Run before helping to open Potomac Falls High School, an experience he hopes to utilize in opening HS-6.
“It's exciting, but very daunting. I understand the work that has to go into it to make sure it's done right,” Duellman said.
In 2002, Duellman was promoted to assistant principal at Potomac Falls. He held that role until 2009, when he moved to Mercer Middle School as principal.
Though he's looking forward to returning to the high school level, Duellman admits he will miss Mercer.
“I'm really going to miss the students,” Duellman said. “I love watching them go from 10- and 11-year-olds to 14-going-on-15-year-olds and watching them discover who they are, what they believe in and what they're passionate about.”
Duellman's tenure at Mercer will end in June and he will officially become principal of HS-6 on July 1. He has already started attending naming committee meetings and speaking with parents to get a feel of their expectations for the new school.
Ultimately, Duellman is confident the school will quickly carve out its own identity, something he's eager to be a part of.
“Everyone has a vested interest, and nothing's better than that,” Duellman said. “You have to commit yourself entirely to making sure the culture from the day the doors open is one where students can find a place to succeed.”