Welcome, Principal Thirus!
Dear Waples Mill Elementary School Community,
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Meishe Thirus, current principal of College Park ES in Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS), has been selected as the new principal of Waples Mill ES.
Ms. Thirus is a caring, communicative, accomplished leader and life-long learner who brings 28 years of teaching, counseling, and school-based administration experience to the Waples Mill school community. She has taught grades 3 through 7 and has 11 years of counseling experience. For the past 3 years, she has led a fully accredited elementary school.
Ms. Thirus was born, raised, and spent her formative years in Omaha, Nebraska, living in a community and attending schools much like the Waples Mill community. Ms. Thirus started her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Nebraska. Over the next 17 years, she successfully taught in New Mexico, Mississippi, and Tennessee before moving to Virginia and working as a counselor in VBCPS.
In 2014, Ms. Thirus was hired as an assistant principal at Bettie Williams ES. Ms. Thirus co-designed and implemented a program that enabled the school to move from “School in Improvement” to accreditation. As a result of her collaborative work with teachers, students, and families, the school achieved math and reading pass rates of 85% and 80%, respectively. She also used PBIS to mitigate discipline offenses in the school. This work resulted in a 45% decrease in school-related discipline and behavior incidents. Ms. Thirus also started an accountability system for instructional coaches to increase support to teachers.
In 2019, Ms. Thirus was appointed principal of College Park ES. As principal, Ms. Thirus led the staff and students to achieve an 86% pass rate in math and an 89% pass rate in reading on the Standards of Learning exams. Ms. Thirus also oversaw improvements in students' performance on the Scholastic Reading Inventory. As a result of her collaborative work with staff, there was a 12% increase in students who performed advanced and proficient in reading and a 10% increase in students who demonstrated proficiency on the math assessment. To stimulate students’ interests, Ms. Thirus also sponsored several curricular activities at her school, including Girls Who Code, STEM Club, Rites of Passage, and Literacy Scholars. Ms. Thirus has extensive experience with the Science of Reading which will prove very beneficial to the Waples Mill community as FCPS navigates towards adopting these practices.
Ms. Thirus is a caring and communicative leader. As principal, she initiated professional development for her staff to promote student engagement and connections in classrooms. This effort led to increased student achievement, a more engaged school culture, and a decrease in student referrals to the office. Ms. Thirus started programs to support staff emotional wellness. Among those programs was a quarterly meeting called “Tea with T”. This program provided support and resources for mental and emotional health based on individual needs. The results were a 97% staff retention rate and 7 staff members earning promotions. Ms. Thirus also increased parental involvement at her school with the Reading Time with Mom and Dad Program and Family Standards of Learning Nights.
Ms. Thirus received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and her Master of Science in Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She also earned an Educational Specialist Degree from George Washington University.
Please join me in welcoming Meishe Thirus as the new principal of Waples Mill ES.
Douglas A. Tyson