Neil Beech named the 2019 Administrator of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Librarians
Posted on 05/30/2019
Dr. Walts and Neil Beech standing together. Text reads: The Virginia Association of School Librarians, Administrator of the Year, is Osbourn Park Principal Neil BeechThe Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) has named Neil Beech, principal at Osbourn Park High School (OPHS), as the 2019 State Principal of the Year.

VAASL recognizes the administrator of a school for supporting the development of an exemplary school library program and for making an outstanding and sustained contribution advancing the role of the school library program as an agency for the improvement of education.

Beech was nominated by OPHS librarians, Jennifer Coleman and Rheetha Lawlor. Both librarians cited the support Beech has demonstrated of expanding the traditional views of a library into a hub of activity.

“In library-sponsored activities, he has agreed to kiss a pig, partake in sumo-wrestling in front of 2,200 students, and is about to be dunked in a dunk tank during the school day,” the librarians wrote in their nomination letter.

They also shared that “Neil Beech keeps us future ready by being cognizant of current evidence-based practices in education and libraries. He has helped us change the view of the library so that it is seen as not just a repository for books, but an extended classroom and community within the building.”

They added, “His approach to all staff, including the library program is to ask, ‘Is there anything you need from me to be successful?’ “

Beech is serving in his ninth year as principal at OPHS, after serving for three years in an assistant principal role. Beech started his career in education as a biology teacher in Prince William County and has served as a Cambridge Program Coordinator within the school system. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Sheffield Hallam University, a master’s degree in secondary science education from Slippery Rock University, and a master’s degree in school leadership from George Mason University.

The award will be presented at the Annual Conference Awards Banquet this coming November in Roanoke.