Salem School Division Superintendent, Dr. Alan Seibert, is pleased to announce that the Salem School Board has formally approved Jamie Soltis to join the Central Office staff as Director of Instruction and Career Readiness, effective July 1, 2019. Soltis will replace Diane Washenberger, who is leaving her position at the end of June. Washenberger has served Salem’s children for 34 years as a teacher, Principal and administrator and she has devoted a total of 45 years of her life to public education in Salem and Roanoke City.
“Having spent the bulk of my career in the Glenvar area and now as a citizen of Salem, I recognize the impact an educator can make in the lives of students in communities like ours,” says Soltis. “I have a special place in my heart for both the city and the school division, and I am extremely appreciative of this opportunity to serve.”
Soltis has spent his entire professional career in southwest Virginia. He began his teaching career at Floyd County before returning to the valley to teach biology and chemistry at William Byrd and Glenvar high schools. From 2007-2017 he served as an Assistant Principal and Principal at Glenvar Middle and High Schools before moving into the Roanoke County central office in 2018 as Director of Secondary Instruction.
“I have been blessed to be surrounded by an amazing group of educators throughout my life and career, including Lorraine Lange, Ken Nicely and Richard Myers,” he says. “Coach Myers showed me the importance of building positive relationships and taught me how one teacher could change a young person’s life. He is the reason I became an educator.”
After finishing his high school career at Glenvar, Soltis graduated with honors from Longwood University with a degree in Biology. He also holds a Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia.
“Jamie Soltis is highly-respected instructional leader who has values and a skill-set that fit perfectly with our mission in Salem to Love, Engage, and Inspire,” says Seibert. “He brings fresh ideas and a new set of experiences that will enable us to achieve our vision in ways that are meaningful and different.”
Soltis will work collaboratively with Jennifer Dean, whose new title will be Director of Instruction and Innovation. The two will share instructional leadership duties throughout the division with Dean continuing her work in the elementary schools and Soltis taking the lead for Salem’s secondary schools.
“My goal is to become an integral part of this amazing team and continually evaluate our instructional programs,” says Soltis. “Together we can implement innovative instructional strategies, assessment structures, and curricula designed to continue the proud Salem tradition of focusing on each and every one of our students.”
As Soltis begins his journey in Salem, Washenberger will conclude a math-centered career that could never be measured in mere numbers. After earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech in Mathematics, she taught math in Roanoke City Schools at Addison Junior High, was an assistant Principal at Ruffner Junior High and the Supervisor of Mathematics for the Roanoke division.
She arrived in Salem in 1985 and was a teacher at Salem High School, a Principal at G.W. Carver Elementary and at the Central office she served as Director of Elementary Education and most recently, the Director of Instruction.
“Quantifying what Mrs. Washenberger has meant to the people of Salem is an impossible task, but we feel like we are honoring her legacy with the hiring of a proven instructional leader like Jamie Soltis,” says Seibert.
Soltis and his wife reside in Salem with their son.