Video Message from Superintendent

Dr. John B. Gordon III shares a message as he starts his new role in Suffolk Public Schools.

… Click on this headline to get to the video link.

Watch his video message to learn more about his vision and goals.  

Dr. John B. Gordon III

                                                                                                             October 13, 2019


To say I am excited about starting as Superintendent for Suffolk Public Schools is an understatement. I feel so honored and lucky to be able to join such a strong school division that includes excellent students, an outstanding staff, a collaborative school board, and a supportive school community. It is my goal to meet each and every one of you over the next couple of weeks as we begin our journey of making every student a star! 

I wanted to share a little bit of insight into some of my goals for the year so together we are building the best SPS possible: 

  • I want to celebrate our school division. I think it is important to recognize our students when they reach their goals, show their potential, and become the proud citizens of Suffolk that we all want them to be.

    I believe in “bragging” on our excellent teachers and staff who work with our most prized possessions, our students every day. I can’t wait to see the creativity and innovation in the classroom first hand! 
  • Instructionally, I will focus on closing the achievement gap, increasing the number of students who achieve advanced scores on the Standards of Learning Assessments, and increasing our graduation rate. I am committed to ensuring all students advance. In order to do this, we are going to talk with our students, our families, our teachers, building leaders, and School Administrative Office leadership.

    We need to really ask ourselves, “What does a Suffolk Public Schools graduate look like?” In preparing our students for their very bright futures, we need to ensure that we develop individualized learning plans for every student to include an increase in active engagement in the classroom through more project based-learning, instructional technology, and student inquiry. 
  • Lastly, we need to ALWAYS work together. I am a firm believer of family, teamwork, transparency and efficiency. We are going to build on our positive school division climate so that everyone wants to live here, go to school here, and work here. In order for this to happen we are going to depend on our partners in city government to continue our strong relationship, depend on our parents and guardians to participate in TWO-WAY communication, and count on our students and teachers to create authentic learning experiences that engage everyone! 

Dr. John B. Gordon III
Division Superintendent
Suffolk Public Schools
p: 757.925.6750 
f: 757.925.6751
a: 100 N. Main St, Suffolk, Va 23434


SEEC Registration Open

The 3rd Suffolk Excellence in Education Conference will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at Colonel Fred Cherry Middle School.

The event will include an amazing keynote workshop featuring Google Education Trainer and Innovator, Eric Curts. Check out some of his work on his blog ControlAltAchieve where all of his Google  Apps and EdTech resources can be found.  The event will feature engaging sessions led by Suffolk’s finest, swag, door prizes, food, music, and dancing. The theme for this year’s SEEC is Rockin and Rollin with Google!

Register today! 


School Board Names New Superintendent

The Suffolk School Board has appointed John B. Gordon III, Ed.D. as the next superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools. Dr. Gordon’s new position will be effective October 14, 2019. Dr. Gordon has more than 24 years of experience in public education in both Maryland and Virginia. He has worked as a teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, principal, director of administrative services, and chief of schools. Since 2017, he has served as chief of schools in Chesterfield County Public Schools.

“I am extremely honored to be selected as the next superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools,” said Gordon. “Suffolk Public Schools is an excellent school division that works very hard to support all students and help them reach their goals. I am so lucky to work with a collaborative school board, dedicated teachers, outstanding students, and great leaders that have led the school division to 100% accreditation. It is my job to inspire our school division to reach new heights, and to ensure that all students grow and reach their potential. I am so excited to join the SPS Team and I cannot wait to get started in meeting all of our students, school communities and staff.”

Phyllis Byrum, chair of the Suffolk School Board, believes Gordon will be a great fit for the division. She stated, “We welcome Dr. Gordon to Suffolk Public Schools and we are excited for the great things that will come under his leadership for the future of the school division and the broader community.”

Dr. Gordon has been in public education since 1995 when he began his career as a substitute teacher and basketball coach on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Working in the elementary level, as a 5th grade teacher in Salisbury, Maryland, and at the secondary level as a high school history teacher in both Richmond and Chesterfield, Virginia, Dr. Gordon taught with energy and creativity that led to high levels of student involvement and learning in the classroom. He brought the same level of detail, creativity, and passion throughout his years as a high school basketball coach at Armstrong and Meadowbrook High School, winning numerous championships over a 10-year career. 

He moved into administration in 2005, where he served as the dean of students at Meadowbrook High School. In the 2007-08 school year, Dr. Gordon was promoted to assistant principal at Meadowbrook High School, and after he retired from coaching, transferred to Monacan High School where he also served as an assistant principal.  Dr. Gordon served as principal of James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia from 2009 to 2014. The school improvement plan at James Monroe focused on closing the achievement gap, and increasing minority student achievement in advanced and honors classes. During his final year as principal, James Monroe High School was rated in the top 7 percent of high schools by U.S. News & World Report.  

Due to his successful tenure as principal, Dr. Gordon served as the director of administrative services for Fredericksburg City Public Schools from 2014 to 2017. In this role, he brought the International Baccalaureate program to Fredericksburg City Public Schools and led the renovation of the Walker-Grant Center, the original African-American high school for the city of Fredericksburg.  During his time in Fredericksburg, Dr. Gordon also served as an adjunct professor at Eastern Mennonite University, University of Mary Washington, and University of Virginia.

He also has led several engaging professional learning sessions for the Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Virginia Education Association, and Virginia School Boards Association, such as How to Instruct African-American Males, Culturally Responsive Instruction, and The Perspective-Recruiting Educators of Color.

In 2017, Dr. Gordon spread his message of inspiration and transformational leadership as the chief of schools for Chesterfield County Public Schools. In every year of his tenure, Dr. Gordon led Chesterfield County Public Schools to 100% accreditation, the development of the Administrative Lead Program, the creation of theCCPS Leadership Framework, with a focus on principal talent management. Dr. Gordon has worked closely with theNew York City Leadership Academy, where he has written two articles: How One Virginia District is Developing Principal Supervisors to Transform Schools, and Strategic Equity Planning Makes a Difference for Our Students. 

He also wrote his first book in April 2019, The Teacher’s Lounge: The Real Role of Educators in Your Schools, that takes a 40-year walk through the field of education as told through the lens of an African-American boy from the suburbs of Richmond.  Dr. Gordon is also the president of Schools That Inspire, LLC, an educational consulting firm designed to inspire a generation, one student at a time.

Dr. John B. Gordon III earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Virginia in 1995, his master’s degree with a concentration in social studies from University of Virginia in 2000, a post-master’s certificate in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech in 2012.

He is married to his wife Shavonne of 22 years, and they have three children, Marcus (28), Kennedy (15), and Simone (10.)

New Places … New Faces

The Suffolk School Board announced administrative changes at its October 10, 2019 meeting.

…. Dr. Ronald Leigh has been promoted to Director of Secondary Leadership.

…. Lawrence Whiting has been named Director of Food Services.

Leigh has been a principal with Suffolk Public Schools for 19 years — serving King’s Fork High School since 2015.  He was also principal at Robertson Elementary, Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary, and Hillpoint Elementary.  He was an assistant principal in Pitt County NC Public Schools and Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County NC Public Schools for five years and a high school teacher in Beaufort County NC Schools for three years.

Leigh earned his bachelor’s degree from Elizabeth City State University, his master’s degree from East Carolina University, and is doctorate from Virginia Tech.

Whiting has been Director of Auxiliary Services in Portsmouth Public Schools since 2018. He served as operations coordinator for Franklin City Public Schools for eight years and as high school principal there for one year. He served as principal and assistant principal in Brunswick County Public Schools for five years, He was a teacher at King’s Fork Middle School for three years, and also taught in Norfolk Public Schools for for three years.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, his master’s degree from Regent University and his educational specialist certification from Norfolk State University.

SPS Goes to Washington …

Barbara Patterson Oden, Suffolk Public Schools’ professional development supervisor of instruction, will be featured on a Congressional briefing panel focusing on addressing equity in teaching through professional learning on Thursday, Oct. 10. 

The briefing is coordinated by Learning Forward.  Other panelists are Learning Forward’s president, and professional development administrators from Oklahoma, New Jersey, Missouri, and Texas.  

The organization promoted the event in these words:  “All of America’s teachers need access to high-quality professional learning and support to address students’ cultural contexts, social emotional development and an ability to engage with demanding academic content. All too often, the teachers of the students who need the most support are in schools with the most limited resources for professional learning. We can turn the tide by providing ongoing, collaborative and job-embedded professional learning for all teachers and leaders.  Hear from the field about the challenges schools and districts are facing, how they have intervened with professional learning and what the impact has been. Specifically, this panel will focus on how Title II-A supported initiatives are making a difference in recruiting and retaining teachers and leaders and increasing student achievement.” 

Flu Vaccine – Are You Covered?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
John F. Kennedy: 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. …
John Yeates: 7:00 a.m – 8:30 a.m. …
Florence Bowser: 9:00 a.m – 10:30 a.m. …
Hillpoint: 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. …
Nansemond River: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. …
Elephant’s Fork: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. …
Nansemond Parkway: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. …

Thursday, October 10, 2019
King’s Fork Middle: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. …
King’s Fork High: 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. …
CCAP: 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Not able to get the flu vaccine but still want to do your part to help fight the flu? We realize that some people are not able to receive the vaccine for various reasons. Check out these helpful flu prevention tips from the Centers for Disease Control located at areaDone!Will do!Got it!ReplyReply allForward

Teacher Supply Store Open Again Oct. 10

Regular hours will be Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. … 

New Location:  John F. Kennedy Middle School …

Drive around the left side of the building … Circle all the way around the building — beyond the Technology Center … Enter Door #20.


What’s the purpose of the Teacher Supply Store?
The SPS Teacher Supply Store will offer Suffolk Public School teachers the opportunity to shop for free classroom supplies on a monthly basis.   This initiative is a partnership with the Suffolk Education Foundation.

What’s the schedule for the store?
The store will be open every Thursday from 2:30-6:00 pm. During the 2019-20 school year, the store will be open September 12 through April 23. Please note, the store will be closed the month of December and over Spring Break. The store will also open during extended hours on preservice days and on some teacher work days. Special store openings will be posted on the SPS website.

Does the Teacher Supply Store replace the $100 School Specialty Voucher that teachers usually receive?No. The Teacher Supply Store is in addition to the $100 School Specialty Voucher that teachers receive.

How often may I shop?
Teachers may shop once a month in the store.

Who is eligible to shop at the Teacher Supply Store?
Any teacher in Suffolk Public Schools who works in a school building directly with students. This includes classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, resource teachers, Title I Teachers etc.

What’s the process for shopping in the store? How does it work?
Teachers will be given a designated amount of “STAR Credit” each month to spend in the store. Once teachers arrive, they should follow the steps below to shop:

  1. Display your SPS badge to the Teacher Supply Store Associate or volunteers when you arrive
  2. You will receive a shopping bag.
  3. Shop for your items up to the maximum STAR Credit value
  4. Complete a brief store Check Out Form on your SMART Device or on the store computer.
  5. Check out at the counter with a Store Associate

What types of supplies do you have in the store?
The store is stocked with everything from copy paper to markers, pencils, chart paper, glue sticks, office supplies, art paper and much, much more. The stock of the store may vary from, month to month based on donations that are provided to the store. But in general, teachers can expect to find a wide range of useful classroom resources on our shelves.

What’s the process for getting supplies for students who are unable to purchase school supplies?
School administrators and Guidance Counselors should contact our Parent Relations Facilitator, Bonnie Maki at 934-6202 if supplies are needed for specific students in your school. We are happy to coordinate with you individually to provide an opportunity for counselors and principals to come to the store to pick up items for students in need.

Binders … Children’s Books … Colored Pencils … Composition Books … Construction Paper … Copy Paper … Disinfecting Wipes (Lysol only, not Clorox on any with bleach) … Dry Erase Markers … File folders … Glue sticks … Hand sanitizer … Legal pads … Loose Leaf Paper … Markers … Paper clips … Pencils … Prize box items … Sticky notes … Tissues … Young Adult Books … Ziplock Baggies 

How to Volunteer … Sign up here.
If you are interested in helping on “shopping days” and/or with behind-the-scenes volunteer opportunities, please use the Sign-Up link above to select your day and time.   If you have questions, contact Lesa McNamara, store manager, 

How to Make Donations
Monetary donations will be accepted, as well as donations of office and school supplies.  Contact Lesa McNamara, store manager, 


Meet the Superintendent Series

Dr. John B. Gordon III has scheduled three community meetings later this month where he can share his vision and answer questions for employees, parents, students, and community members.

Open this post for all the details.

Register Today

Virgin Pulse registration is now open.

Open this post by clicking on headline.

To join, use the register link below and enter your name & employee ID.

For point earning opportunities, visit How to Earn under the Reward Tab on the site or the Program Details on the mobile APP.

$200 and YMCA Membership Incentive are Considered Taxable Income.

ID for Employees:
Add (0) or (00) before ID to Equal 6 Digits

Registration Link

Interim Progress Report Directions and Due Dates

Please see the appropriate directions for completing Interim Progress Reports (IPRs).

Interim Progress Report Due Dates for 2019-2020

Marking PeriodProgress Report
Distribution Date
Teacher Progress
Report Load Date
MP1October 3October 1
MP2December 11December 9
MP3March 4March 2
MP4May 13May 11

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The Chesapeake Regional Mammo Van is coming to Nansemond River High School on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Registration is now open. Registration is highly suggested to save a space.
**Click on the link below, scroll down and click on SPS-Nansemond River High School- November 5, 2019-Suffolk.

Enroll Now in Legal Resources

Click on the headline to find out more about the Legal Resources optional benefit for you and your family.

Click here below to open the 3-page brochure PDF.

Learn More about New Pharmacy Benefits

To clear up any confusion about the new pharmacy benefits that will start January 1, 2020 … please open this post to learn more.

LINK to Revised List of Preventive Generic Tier 1 Drugs – only available for 80/20 & HDHP plans

Wellness Spotlight

During pre-service meetings, Creekside Elementarystaff members wrote their wellness goals on exercise shapes and decorated a bulletin board.

The Gators also have a morning walking group and afternoon wellness activities.  

Gooooo Gator Goals!

What’s the Latest from VRS

Read up on the latest from the Virginia Retirement System, including a new learning channel for Hybrid employees.

… Click on the headline to open the most and get to the newsletter link.

……….Click here for the latest e-newsletter.

Anthem Live Health

Anthem Live Health is an app for your mobile device …

Download today from your device store and have access to a Board Certified Physician, 24/7 …

Open this post by clicking on the Headline to get to the Video Link …

Video URL: 

Employee Wellness Website:

Fitness Coming to You

The Traveling YMCA Program now has open registration available through September 17, 2019, end of business day. 

This is a first-come, first-served registration process with a cap of 30 for each location.  

Click on the headline to get to the registration link:
Traveling YMCA Open Registration Form

Sign up today!

SPS Closed Friday, Sept. 6

SPS will be closed Friday, Sept. 6.

Due to the unpredictable timing of the approaching storm, Suffolk Public Schools will dismiss early Thursday, Sept. 5.

Middle schools will dismiss it 11:25 a.m.  High schools will dismiss at 12:25 p.m., and elementary schools will dismiss at 1:15 p.m.  All schools will serve lunch.

In addition, all after-school and evening activities scheduled for Thursday and Friday will be canceled.

Families using the YMCA, Parks & Recreation, or the Boys & Girls Club for childcare should contact those organizations for schedule changes.Move to Trash

How SPS Announces Schedule Changes

Emergency School Closings:  

When a decision is made to close or delay opening of Suffolk Public Schools because of weather conditions, or to close a single school for other reasons, detailed information will be provided in the following places:


  • SPS Facebook Page …
  • School Messenger … Automated phone calls with a recorded message will begin calling the homes of students and staff. The numbers called are based on the contact information stored in the division’s database.
  • SPS Website …    A recorded message will be available after hours at 925-6750.
  • Television stations … WVEC-13, WAVY-10, WTKR-3 … and their websites
  • Division Mobile App … Download on mobile device from app store. Select “YES” to receive Push Notifications, allowing your device to receive announcements.

Code 1 / Essential Personnel — Defined

Please be reminded on the occasions when the school division is impacted with severe weather, it is necessary that resulting concerns or issues are promptly addressed before the next opening day.

Under the “Code 1/Essential Personnel” designation, principals and department heads, and all custodians assigned to that building, are to report to their work locations to ensure there are no concerns to be addressed (such as broken pipes, no heat, other issues).   It is important that all buildings are promptly inspected and issues addressed to allow students/staff to be received on the next opening day.

At the discretion of the principal/department head, additional staff may be required to report to work to address concerns resulting from a severe weather event.  When required to work additional hours, the principal/department head shall provide compensatory time to offset the additional work time that was provided by the employee during the “Code 1/Essential Personnel” time period.

Delayed Opening

Suffolk Public Schools will consider opening schools on a two-hour delay, due to inclement weather, hazardous conditions, power outages, or other emergency situations. Bus pick-ups for all students would begin either one hour or two hours later than normal pick-up times.

“Delayed Opening” means that any before-school child care will also open under the same delay.  Elementary student early drop-off would be delayed until 10:30 a.m. Breakfast would not be served on either delayed opening schedule. Lunch would be served. Dismissal time and after-school activities would remain the same unless otherwise noted.

Before- and After-School Childcare Programs

Suffolk Parks & Recreation Department will announce changes to their schedule independently, since their centers are separate from the school building.

Elementary schools offering YMCA childcare at the school will follow this revised schedule:

  • On the mornings of school delays, the YMCA before-school program provided at the schools themselves will be cancelled.
  • If schools dismiss early, the YMCA after-school program is cancelled and children must be picked up at school dismissal time.
  • If schools are closed, there will be no YMCA childcare in the elementary schools.  The Suffolk YMCA may offer children enrolled in a school-based program an opportunity for childcare at its Godwin Boulevard facility.  Call the YMCA at 934-9622 for details.

Families Need to Plan Ahead

If an early closing of school becomes necessary, students need to know what to do and where to go when they get off the school bus. There may be times that school dismissal will be delayed beyond regular school hours due to extreme weather conditions or for other reasons. The same assortment of communication tools listed above will be used when possible.


Va Dept of Education – Welcome Back Video

Check out this video back-to-school message from Secretary of Education Atif Qarni and Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane…

Click on the headline to get to the video link …

20/20 YMCA Membership Discount

We have a 20/20 Membership Offer through the YMCA. …
 Two Suffolk Public School’s employees can go and join the YMCA and each will receive a 20% discount.  Already a member?  No problem, the YMCA will honor the discount with current members as well.
  • No joining fee through September 23, 2019.  After that the joining fee will be a 20% off discount.
  • Please bring a copy of your pay-stub to the Suffolk YMCA to join.
  • Membership will be good for all South Hampton Roads YMCA locations.
***This discount is for Suffolk Public Schools Employees only.

Preservice Surveys in Frontline PG

All instructional staff are asked to complete the Preservice Surveys in Frontline Professional Growth.

You may see one or more of the following three surveys in your Frontline PG account:

  • SPS New Teacher Orientation 2019 – For 2019-20 Newly Hired Staff – Due by 9/7/2019
  • Preservice 2019 – District PD Activities Evaluation – Due by 9/7/2019
  • Planbook Subscription Renewal 2019-20 – Due by 9/13/2019


You can access the surveys from two locations in the system.

From the Dashboard (Lightbulb Icon), click on the down arrow to reveal the Submit button. Click Submit to open the survey.

From the Learning Plan (Spiral Notebook icon), select the Submit button to open the survey.