About Venable Elementary School
A historic school in the neighborhood of the University of Virginia
Venable Elementary has a long history of enriching students’ lives through high academic standards and a strong connection to the surrounding community. At Venable, we serve preschoolers through fourth-graders, supporting and challenging each and every student in order to maximize the social, emotional and cognitive growth expected of tomorrow’s leaders. Instruction is designed to foster initiative, flexibility, social and cross-cultural awareness, productivity, accountability, leadership, and individual responsibility for learning. The school has won state awards for distinguished academic achievement (through the VIP program), a Do Something grant for promoting school-wide fitness, and the Virginia Lottery’s Super Teacher award for our music teacher.
Students at Venable are given the opportunity to use their skills in ways that influence the school and the world around them. We nurture 21st century skills of using information gathering and communication technologies to assess data, collaborate, innovate, think critically, solve problems and become more self-aware. Regular activities such as school-wide celebrations of achievement, community service, and special events build a sense of pride and personal contribution among our students. Families, community members and U.Va. student volunteers are critical partners with the school, helping us to foster lasting friendships among adults and children.
Like all Charlottesville elementary schools, Venable is marked by:
- Small class sizes
- A commitment to the arts
- An active garden classroom made possible by City Schoolyard Garden
- Embracing technology in the classroom
- Varied instruction, including a Quest program for high-achieving students
- Community partnerships, such as our annual “Minds in Motion” production with the Richmond Ballet
History of Venable Elementary School
Venable Elementary School opened in the University of Virginia neighborhood in 1925. The school was named for Colonel Charles Scott Venable, who was a Civil War soldier, professor of mathematics at the University of Virginia and author of arithmetic books for children. Later additions on the north end added an auditorium/gym wing. The playground/picnic area was constructed in May 1995 as a community project. Venable, along with now-closed Lane High, were the first Charlottesville schools to be integrated when the “Charlottesville Twelve” entered the schools on September 8, 1959. In recent years, Venable and other Charlottesville City Schools have often hosted members of the “Venable Twelve” to speak to students about their experiences integrating the schools.
Meet the Administrators
Principal Erin Kershner has a B.A. in English & American Literature from Brown University, two master’s degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a doctorate in Education Policy, Planning, and Leadership from the College of William and Mary. She began her teaching career in rural northeastern North Carolina as a middle school language arts teacher through Teach For America. Dr. Kershner held various leadership roles at the building and central office levels in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh, NC prior to becoming the principal of Venable in 2011.
Assistant Principal Tamara Dias holds a B.A. in Spanish Linguistics and an M.T. in Foreign Language Education, both from the University of Virginia. She also has a doctorate in Education from Morgan State University. Dr. Dias began her teaching career in Chesterfield County Schools. She taught Spanish in both Albemarle County and Charlottesville City (go Buford!), and returns to CCS after spending the last two years at Charlottesville Catholic School.
Assistant Principal Valeta Paige has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Hampton University and a MEd from U.Va. She has filled a wide variety of roles in Charlottesville City Schools: Quest teacher, instructional coordinator, and the principal of Jackson-Via (1990-2003). She has served as the assistant principal at Venable since 2004. She has three children and four grandchildren.