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JC Schools Announces Emily Vallandingham as New Principal of Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Vallandingham, a 2002 Jefferson City High School graduate and dedicated JC Schools educator with curriculum and instruction expertise, will lead middle school

JEFFERSON CITY – Jefferson City School District today announced that Emily Vallandingham, a 2002 Jefferson City High School graduate, has been hired as the principal of Thomas Jefferson Middle School. She is currently the associate principal of curriculum and instruction at Capital City High School, a role she has served in since 2019. 

To her new role, Vallandingham brings administrative experience, expertise in curriculum and instruction, deep passion for student success, and extensive knowledge in research-based and data-driven methods to improve professional development among staff. She will succeed Shawn Kelsch, who will be the principal of Jefferson City Academic Center for the 2022-2023 school year. 

Vallandingham played a crucial role in the opening of CCHS, working together with her administrative colleagues to build a strong roster of teachers and staff members in the building. She has subsequently dedicated herself to leading and mentoring about 100 teachers and staff members at CCHS, regularly overseeing professional development to help them reach their goals as individuals, academic teams, or the school community as a whole. 

“Emily Vallandingham has been relentlessly committed to the progress and improvement of the teachers and staff members she worked alongside every day,” said JC Schools assistant superintendent of secondary education Gary Verslues. “She knows that supporting our teachers and staff members ultimately leads to academic success for our students. Emily has a proven track record of success at JC Schools and we cannot wait to see her continue her journey at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.” 

Vallandingham has cherished her tenure at CCHS and looks forward to bringing her experience to TJMS. She started her education career in 2007 as a language arts teacher at Parkway Central Middle School in Chesterfield, Missouri, and has strongly desired to someday return to the middle school setting. 

“Middle school administrators, teachers, and staff have the meaningful responsibility of supporting their students as they enter a transitional phase in their lives. As the parent of an incoming sixth grader at TJMS, I know just how important it is to set high expectations for students this age,” said Emily Vallandingham, CCHS associate principal of curriculum and instruction and upcoming Thomas Jefferson Middle School Principal. “I’m invested in making TJMS the best school it can be and giving students the support they need as they go through this important stage in life. I’m incredibly excited to become a champion for the students, staff, and families of TJMS.”

After teaching middle school language arts, Vallandingham became the lead English teacher from 2009-2014 at the Simonsen Ninth Grade Center. There, she went on to be the fellowship teaching mentor, mentoring first-year teachers who were enrolled in the University of Missouri’s rigorous master’s degree program. She also served as the technology applications teacher and instructional coach at Simonsen before going to CCHS.

Vallandingham earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri in 2006, master’s degree in education with a concentration in educational technology from University of Central Missouri, and education specialist degree in administration from Arkansas State University. 

Emily Vallandingham