Trisha Ann Ybarra-Peters. Contributed photo.
The Board of Directors of Hillsboro Charter Academy announced on Mar. 14 the appointment of Trisha Ann Ybarra-Peters as the school's first principal following a nationwide search and a rigorous review of nearly 50 applicants. Ybarra-Peters will assume the position beginning March 28 and lead the preparation for the Hillsboro Charter Academy's inaugural school year that begins on August 29.
Along with nearly 10 years of experience in the Loudoun County Public Schools as a general education, special education and gifted teacher, Ybarra-Peters, 46, has had an extensive career in both traditional and nontraditional schools and won accolades for her role in the innovative Loudoun County Public Schools Bright Life Initiative that fosters collaboration among gifted, general education and special education students.
â€œTrisha brings a set of core values that are in concert with the mission of Hillsboro Charter Academy, said Rebecca Baldwin Fuller, HCA Board president. â€œWe believe her experience and demonstrated passion for innovative teaching and community collaboration make her an ideal leader for our new charter school.
A native of Riverside, Calif., Ybarra-Peters earned her Administration and Supervision Leadership Certificate and master's degree in Reading from Shenandoah University. She earned a bachelor's degree in English, Secondary English Education Certification and Special Education Certification from the University of Montana.
Ybarra-Peters is currently a special education teacher and case manager for learning disabled, emotionally disabled and autistic students at J. Michael Lunsford Middle School. Her previous experience in Loudoun was as a special education teacher at Belmont Ridge Middle School, and a year at the Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Center as a literacy coach.
Prior to coming to Loudoun County in 2005, she worked with troubled youth at Keystone Non-Public Schools and at the Julian Charter School, both in Riverside, Calif. She began her teaching career in 1996 as a special education teacher in Corvallis, Mont.
"I had been following the story of Hillsboro Elementary and how the parents and community came together to save their small school," Ybarra-Peters said. "Coming from a small town and being very community oriented I just had a lot of respect for the blood, sweat and tears that went into creating the charter, especially in Virginia where it is not very easy. I was really intrigued. When I read the Hillsboro Charter, it spoke to me at the core of my value system. I have the passion, energy and drive to do whatever it takes to make HCA a school where there is equitable opportunity for all students to learn and for all teachers to do what they have a passion for."
Hillsboro Charter Academy will offer a science, technology, engineering, arts, math (STEAM), project-based learning (PBL) curriculum. â€œProject-based learning really taps into all areas of the mind and heart of childrenâ€”and too often that type of learning is only offered to gifted students, said Ybarra-Peters. But heres the deal: everybody should have those opportunities. I've always been blown away by the fact that when I've seen students given the choice of their task or project, they would always go for something I don't think a teacher would traditionally assign. They went for the hard tasks. With the opportunity to take a multidisciplinary approach, and bring in the arts, all students ”the gifted, those who may struggle and the child in the middle will have the chance to collaborate, learn and excel together. I believe if we can find the key for each child, we can unlock their intrinsic motivation to learn."
Ybarra-Peters and her husband Jeff have two children. Maria is a senior at Tuscarora High School and plans to attend the University of Virginia next year. Their son, Daniel, graduated from Stone Bridge High School and now attends Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.