PHS prepares for administrative changes in 2023-2024 school year


Photo from @mrcarothersphs on Instagram

In the 2023-2024 school year, administrative changes will include Ms. Angelica Rivas-Smith leaving Poolesville to continue her professional growth as a principal intern at William H. Farquhar Middle School. 

The role of principal intern is an advancement from assistant principal. While principal interns have the same responsibilities as an assistant principal, they also have the added responsibility of training under the current principal in order to be qualified for principalship. This training includes shadowing the principal throughout the first semester and is followed by a six week takeover period around the time of winter break. During this six week takeover period, the intern will assume the role the principal currently has, and another school’s current principal will be an assistant principal to the intern so that there is an experienced principal who the intern can consult. 

Rivas-Smith is returning to the middle school setting after spending two years in the high school environment. Prior to her work at PHS, she had experience as both a middle school teacher and middle school assistant administrator. 

“I’m excited about [working with middle schoolers], middle school is super different,” Rivas-Smith said. “It has a unique set of challenges and needs, so I’m prepared for them.”

As the Poolesville community says goodbye to Rivas-Smith, our administration prepares to receive Mr. Ryan Graves, the current Assistant Principal at Watkins Mill High School, as a principal intern.  Principal Mark Carothers shares insight into why he is honored to receive a principal intern under his training. 

“I don’t necessarily know if countywide, [PHS] is typically seen as a place that can train future principals,” said Carothers. “I’m honored that there was a shift in focus, there’s a lot of things that professionals can learn here from the community, students, and magnet programs. I’m excited for new people to ‘visit’ and see what we actually do because sometimes I think we’re up against stereotypes.”

Aside from the excitement about the honor placed on PHS, Carothers is excited about what Graves as an individual can offer to the community.

“Anytime I bring in someone from a different school, they always bring in a different lens with different strengths and best practices,” said Carothers. “They bring things that can positively impact our community. I’m a constant learner and I think I can learn something new from each administrator.”

Despite the excitement, Carothers acknowledges that change can be hard on the school community. Additionally, he assured that he would continue to be in charge of construction, even during Graves’ six week takeover period, due to its crucial status for years to come. 

As the PHS community says goodbye to Ms. Rivas-Smith and thanks her for two years of service to the community, she offers parting advice based on what insight she has gained from her time in this community. She believes that empathy has been the most prominent lesson she has taught in these two years.

“There’s so many kids who you don’t know in this building because you didn’t go to middle school together or maybe you don’t have classes together because you’re in different houses,” Rivas-Smith said. “I would love for students, even after I’m gone, to continue to give each other the benefit of the doubt and be kind to one another.”