Among his many responsibilities with the Department of Education, Haun provides technical assistance to the Virginia Board of Education and facilitates policy development and implementation. He must be conversant across the gamut of issues under the DOE’s purview, including Virginia’s educational accountability program, curriculum and instructional practices, federal accountability requirements, local, state, and federal education policies and procedures, and uses of educational technology for teaching and learning.
Currently, he says, his most influential work is assisting the Board of Education with revising the Standards of Accreditation. “The SOAs are designed to provide an essential foundation of educational programs of high quality in all schools for all students,” Haun explains. They determine standards, guidelines, and regulations in areas such as school accreditation, graduation requirements, teacher licensure, and standards of learning.
“The skills that today’s students need to be career and college ready differ,” he says. “Changes to the SOAs are necessary to enable our schools to adequately prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.”
Working with Virginia’s challenged school divisions has been most rewarding for him so far. “Students cannot come to school and learn if they are homeless, hungry, and lack basic medical attention,” Haun says. A team of representatives from all state agencies has been created to assist schools in challenged communities with wraparound support and services.
Since taking this position in fall 2014, he sees his greatest success as working with school divisions to develop and implement alternative assessments to replace the five SOL multiple-choice assessments that were removed.
“The VDOE was able to provide grants to the eight superintendents’ regions to support this work,” he says. “In October 2015, VDOE partnered with Virginia ASCD, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, and the Virginia School-University Partnership to host an Alternative Assessment Summit for schools and regions to share and learn from each other.”
Changes to the SOAs are necessary to enable our schools to adequately prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.
The Curry School’s Role
“I do feel my experiences at Curry School helped to prepare me for leadership,” he says. “Two skills that students were expected to use in every class were being analytical and good communicators. The professors that I interacted with at Curry School were persistent about being good thinkers, asking great questions and being effective communicators. These are two of the skills that I use almost daily and must have to be an effective leader.”
The Career Path
From 2009 to 2014 Haun was the Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning for Albemarle County Public Schools. He joined ACPS in 1994 as a math teacher and the varsity football coach at Western Albemarle High School. He was named an assistant principal at Western three years later, principal of Walton Middle School in 2000, and principal at Monticello High School in 2003.
“I have known Dr. Haun since his early days as a principal, and his leadership capabilities easily were obvious,” said Albemarle County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Pamela Moran (M.Ed. ’80 Sci Ed; Ed.D. ’97 Admin & Supv). “He not only has a deep commitment to student-centered learning, but also is a leader who is able to turn that drive into meaningful programs that change young lives.”