Your Views | Why Merging Minnie Howard and T.C. Williams Will Be Best for Our Students


An open letter to families of Minnie Howard and T.C. Williams Students,

I am pleased to announce that the Alexandria School Board has reviewed my proposal to merge our program for grades 9 through 12, making the Minnie Howard Ninth-Grade Center an official campus of T.C. Williams High School beginning Monday, February 2. The building will now be called T.C. Williams High School, Minnie Howard Campus. After speaking with many of you and hearing your suggestions and concerns, I strongly believe this reorganization will move us forward toward accomplishing our goal of higher achievement for each and every student.

Since the Minnie Howard Ninth-Grade Center was formed in 1993, the school has maintained a close relationship with T.C. Williams High School. All of the programs that have made Minnie Howard a success will continue under the reorganization.

T.C. Williams is an outstanding comprehensive high school. Graduates attend excellent colleges and often attribute their successes to their high school experiences; however, in spite of our best intentions and hard work, only 76 percent of our students graduate on time, if at all. By merging Minnie Howard and T.C. Williams, we will provide continuity and consistency; creating a strengthened and more unified 9 through 12 secondary program that enhances teaching and learning for all students. Those already achieving at high levels will have additional opportunities to reach even higher. Every student will be supported and prepared to make good decisions about school and work. This reorganization will require no additional funding.

To accomplish our goal of improved coordination of programs for grades 9 through 12, there will be a reorganization of administrators. T.C. Williams High School Principal William Clendaniel will serve as the principal for all T.C. Williams academies and campuses, including Minnie Howard.
T.C. Executive Associate Principal Marla Philpot will move to and oversee the Minnie Howard campus, with the help of T.C. Williams Academy Principal Steve Colantuoni, who is a former Minnie Howard assistant principal.

Minnie Howard Assistant Principals Linda Wilkoff and Pree Ann Johnson will remain at Minnie Howard. Grace Taylor will move to T.C. Williams as a principal on special assignment, responsible for the oversight of several alternative programs for grades 9 through 12, including the new Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.

Margaret Walsh, Executive Director of Secondary Programs, will continue in her current position but will move her office from Beauregard Street to T.C. Williams High School, the first of several efforts to place central office instructional leaders in our schools where they will be closest to the students and teachers.

On behalf of the students and staff at T.C. Williams High School, I extend a warm welcome to our newest official Titans, the T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus students.

Dr. Morton Sherman
Alexandria City Public Schools