Frew Is a True Example of What Hard Work Can Do


The new principal at Sterling Middle School wants his students to know one thing: “If you work hard, the opportunities are boundless.

“The biggest thing is that hard work pays off. It sounds simple, but it does pay off. Don’t tell me your opportunities are somehow limited in any shape or form. That’s what I want to tell my kids.”

Fitzroy Frew is talking from experience, not speaking philosophically.

 

Frew came to the South Bronx from his native Jamaica in 1989, just shy of his 15th birthday. “I’m proudly Jamaican. There’s two places that shaped me, Jamaica and the Bronx. Those places stay with me wherever I go.”

Frew was born in St. Catherine Parish, about 40 miles west of Kingston. He spent time living 

with his grandparents, who were sugarcane farmers. “Hard-working folks.”

His mother, Conseta, obtained a Green Card to work in New York as a home health aide. After becoming an American citizen, she sent for Frew to join her.  

“I don’t know how many dollars or cents my mother came here with, but I’ll bet it was very little. Through a lot of hard work, she got me here; made sure I stayed on the straight and narrow path. There’s so many ways I could have become a statistic; young black man, single mother, surrounded by violence and drugs.”

Frew spent his teenage years in one of America's toughest neighborhoods, about 11 blocks from Yankee Stadium, “which could have been 11,000 miles away.” He said his mother, extended family and “people on the block” looked after him and kept him out of trouble. “‘Get your butt upstairs and try to figure out that math problem.’ They might not know how to do it, but they knew it was important that I knew how to do it. ‘You’re not going to some basement party with your buddies.’” 

After graduating Harry S Truman High School, Frew earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and secondary education from D’Youville College. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in education leadership and supervision from George Mason University. While not “classically educated,” Frew said his mother was very smart and knew the value of a formal education. (His mother did not see Frew complete his education, dying of a heart attack at 41 in 1996.)

“The more educated we are – as individuals, as a society, as a nation, as a world – the better we all are,” Frew added. “The more we know about ourselves, the more we know about each other, the more we know about different cultures, different religions, different peoples, different ways of life, the better we all are.”

Frew came to Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) in 2007 as a language arts teacher at Stone Hill Middle School. He became a middle school dean in 2011, serving in that capacity at J. Michael Lunsford, Harper Park and Seneca Ridge middle schools. He has been an assistant principal at Riverside High School since 2016. Frew also has held teaching positions in North Carolina, Fairfax County, Spotsylvania County and New York City.   

All of his life and educational experiences have led him to Sterling Middle. Frew wants to help students who are new to America, as he once was. “It’s one of the reasons I specifically sought out Sterling.”

While he has experience in both high school and middle school, Frew said he also sought out a middle school principalship. “What better place than middle school for so many trials and errors; to really get into extension, to really get into creativity? These three years – some of the most formative years in a  young person’s life –  can provide them with an environment where they can try so many different things. Figure out who they are. Figure out what learning style they have; what works best, what doesn't.

“Here in middle school – it’s important to do well in eighth-grade civics – but we can fall and get up. It’s important that you do well in sixth-grade English, but we can fall and get up. Fall down nine, get up 10.”     

Frew and his wife, Amber, his college sweetheart, have two daughters who go to LCPS schools. They make up the “Frew Crew.” Being an LCPS parent adds a deeper commitment to his role 

“The things I want for my students are the things that I want for my daughters. The way I interact with my students is the way I would want someone to interact with my daughters. Sometimes you have to do tough love. Sometimes you have to be a sympathetic ear. Sometimes you have to be a cheerleader or a coach.”    

Frew will fill whatever role he’s needed in. He doesn’t mind hard work.





Published August 30, 2023