Back to School: Superintendent Shadows T.C. Williams Students for a Day

As a Class of ‘95 graduate, Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. has fond memories of his years at T.C. Williams High School.

And as superintendent of ACPS, he has been back many times.

But last Wednesday his visit was a little different. He traded in his suit coat for a leather jacket and returned to the halls to see life through the eyes of a student once again.

This came after Dr. Hutchings spent the day as a substitute teacher at Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy in January as part of an initiative to get senior leadership back to the classroom.

Dr. Hutchings shadowed Demarcus Coggins, a T.C. senior, and Eduardo Rojas of the International Academy. He attended classes, mingled with students, and even completed a pop quiz.

“The motivation is to really experience the learning environment through the lens of our students,” he said.

“I always have the perspective of the teaching staff but hear less often from our young people. This is the perfect way to not only get to hear from them but also get to experience what they do on a day-to-day basis.”

Students were inspired by the presence of Dr. Hutchings in the classroom, especially Coggins.

“It was pretty cool,” he said. “He advised me on not just school but life issues. It was such a positive experience. It made the day go by shorter.”

For Dr. Hutchings, however, it was a long day with a rigorous schedule.

He discussed social justice and the Autobiography of Malcolm X in Ms. Lawson’s 12th grade English class. Then, he worked with a team of students to explore how sediments and sedimentary rocks explain the geologic history of our planet in Ms. Christopher’s Oceanography class. Finally, he reviewed the processes of state and national governance in the International Academy.

“One of my key takeaways is that the classes are pretty long,” he said.

“Hats off to our teachers because they are keeping students engaged. The instructional strategies that I’m seeing in the classroom are working.”

At the end of the day, T.C. principal Peter Balas said that Dr. Hutchings made a great student.

“Superintendent Hutchings certainly looked the part of a T.C. teenage Titan,” he said.

“Even though he started the day with a late pass from my administrative team, he still had a wonderful day.”

ACPS, Alexandria City High School, International Academy