Dr. Deran R. Whitney
Superintendent of Schools

August 25, 2016


It’s that time of year again… gearing up for back to school!


Most of us can recall the feelings of excitement and in some cases, anxiety for beginning a new school year.  Being able to re-start, rejuvenate and build on the progress made is one of the biggest advantages of working in schools.


As our14,000+ students begin this new year, we are excited to continue and begin several new Suffolk Public Schools’ initiatives.   We are proud of the growth we experienced with our students’ performance on the Standards of Learning assessments.  Division-wide, four of the five subject areas showed improvement.  We are committed to continuous improvement by providing all students what they need to be successful.  We recognize that this commitment does not necessarily mean providing every student the same thing. Our teachers are committed to assisting all students to reach their potential.


In the northern part of our city, we are making much progress on two new schools.  The students of Florence Bowser will move into Driver Elementary as we build the 1,000-student, state-of-the-art Florence Bowser Elementary School.  The new northern middle school, state-of-the-art as well, is also on schedule and construction will begin soon. Both schools will welcome students in September 2018.


Based on our recent client surveys, we have made improvements within our transportation department.  This year, we will implement a new routing and GPS system for our buses.  The routing software allows us to plan more efficient routes based on set parameters in and around the city.  The GPS system also allows us to monitor buses as we transport students.  This new technology will keep our students and drivers safe, and help to ensure a timely pick-up and drop-off daily.


A true laser focus on student engagement at all levels will also take place this school year.  Modifications within our middle school program, promoting more project-based learning and offering more online education opportunities for students will be evident. The Redesign Committee for the Pruden Center for Industry and Technology has begun work this summer. They are meeting with community stakeholders and businesses to best determine what programs we need at this center to best prepare students for college and the work force.


We continue to call for your assistance. Whether you are a parent, business owner, community member, Suffolk Public Schools employee or student, you have a role in this charge. As a parent, attend school events, check to ensure homework is completed, meet with your child’s teacher and school staff and encourage your child to arrive at school with a positive attitude and ready to learn. As a business owner and community member continue to volunteer in our schools, mentor a student, visit our schools and see what and how our students are learning. I charge all teachers and Suffolk Public Schools employees to put children first when making decisions and help each student reach his or her full potential. To our 14000+ students, take advantage of this free quality education by putting forth your best effort, ask questions and think critically and deeply.


We are on the move in Suffolk Public Schools , while many know our motto , Every Child a Star…I submit to you, we all become bright stars when we work collaboratively, helping all students shine!



To contact the Superintendent’s Office, please call the School Administrative Offices at (757) 925-6750 or email him at