Ganley Brings LCPS Experience to Lucketts

Laura Ganley brings the best practices of some of Loudoun County Public Schools’ best principals to her new role as principal of Lucketts Elementary.

Ganley began her teaching career as a second-grade teacher at Rolling Ridge Elementary under the late Wayne Mills. Ganley said Mills was an “educational father” for her and the five new teachers joining the staff during her first year. Ganley said Mills taught her, “You have to support your team.” And that support depended on team member needs. New teachers needed a lot of instructional support, experienced teachers had other instructional needs. Ganley learned how to differentiate support so that every staff member received the resources they needed.  

Ganley earned a master’s degree in instructional technology while teaching at Rolling Ridge, then took eight years off to raise her two children. When she came back, she thought everything had changed in instructional technology and looked for a classroom position. Then-Technology Supervisor Lynn Mcnally convinced her to become a technology resource teacher (TRT) at Little River Elementary. “I had a lot to learn,  but I loved it. I’m not afraid of doing hard things. I enjoy doing hard things. I think that anything that's valuable in life is usually pretty hard.”

Ganley wants her Lucketts’ students to learn the proper use of technology. “They need to learn that it’s a tool…Sometimes students need help understanding that it's a tool and that they’re in charge of how they use it.” She wants children to make social connections that are helpful through technology. “And not to use it when those connections are not helpful.”

From Little River, Ganley went to Liberty Elementary, which was just opening. Its principal, Dr. Angela Gwynne-Atwater, collaborated with Ganley on using the best technology available in creative ways. “She allowed me a lot of space and partnered with me.”

Ganley felt nervous when Atwater-Gwynne departed. Her replacement, Paul Pack, taught Ganley an important administrative lesson. “We loved Angela. She was so personable and kind… When Paul came in, we were a little bit nervous. What I learned from Paul was how to come in and listen. Take what’s already started and help that grow and flourish into something great.”

After a year as an educational technology staff development specialist in the Central Office, Ganley became an assistant principal at the new Madison's Trust Elementary in 2016. As much as she liked instructing educators, Ganley needed to be back in a school.

“My ‘Why?’ is kids.”

Madison’s Trust Principal Dave Stewart taught Ganley how to build a collaborative staff. “I saw the results of those collaborative relationships on the students. How it took their learning to the next level.”

Last school year, Ganley was an assistant principal at Sugarland Elementary.

“I wanted a learning experience. I loved it there.”

Working in a Title I school serving economically disadvantaged students refocused Ganley’s perspective as an administrator. “It taught me what’s really important in education. Everything is important, but a student can’t learn and grow and be their best if they don’t have everything they need. I learned how a school can support each student and help every individual get what it is they need to be successful… We were also a really great community school; lots of events for our students to participate in. We were the hub of the community, and I think Lucketts is probably the same.

“I’m looking forward to continuing that community feel. Students reach their highest potential when the important adults in their life work together. That’s our job as parents and educators, to make those connections and support them in the best way possible.”

Ganley said all of her school experiences “blend really well to meet the needs of the student population here. I feel like this is where I’m meant to be.”

She added her students only need to know a few things about her.

“That I Iove them. That I’m happy that they’re here. I want them to be successful, and I know that they can be successful. I’m here to help them reach that success.”

Published August 16, 2023