Hudson Was an LCPS Parent Before Becoming an LCPS Principal

Amanda Hudson, the new principal of J. Michael Lunsford Middle School, was well-acquainted with Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) before becoming a member of its administrative team. 

She has two children attending LCPS schools and has been part of the South Riding community for a decade. Hudson said she and her husband made the move to Loudoun when her son was 6 months old. “We moved here for the schools here in South Riding and for the family environment. We love the neighborhood. There are so many events that go on here. This is a great place to raise a family.

“It matters that I’m in the community. I want parents to know that they can trust me. If there’s a question that they have, I’m going to be responsive. If there’s a concern that they have and I don’t know the answer, I’ll find the answer or point them in the right direction. I want them to know that their kids are safe here, they’re going to learn, they’re going to achieve at high levels and that we care about their kids.”

Hudson, who comes to Lunsford after serving as an administrator in Fairfax County Public Schools, has always been impressed by how LCPS treats its students. “Staff really bends over backwards to help kids. I’ve seen that with my own children. Staff really cares. I like the small environment. I feel like the staff really gets to know kids. They learn a lot.”

Supporting students, parents and staff are at the top of Hudson’s agenda in her new role. “I’m approachable, friendly. I root for students and I want to see them succeed. My definition of success is not just academic. I want to see them happy. I want them to feel supported and that they can talk to adults here and be warmly received. I want them to feel comfortable here.

“I want kids to feel that they’re seen, that they matter. They feel like this is a safe, comfortable school for them.”

Hudson said she visited about 30 classrooms on the first day of school, met a lot of students and had question-and-answer sessions. They asked questions about what their new principal was like. “I talked about my dog. I talked about fashion. That broke the ice.”

While her most recent positions were as an assistant principal and director of student services at the high-school level, Hudson said her career as an educator started in middle school. “I started out in middle school and a lot of my friends thought I was crazy. At the time, many of us were going for high school positions, but I landed in a middle school. I loved it. The kids are still goofy. They’re unafraid to be silly. They’re not ‘too cool’ yet. Sometimes, when they get older, things get more serious in life; transcripts matter, all grades matter. A lot of kids are looking to be elite athletes. There’s a lot of stress. In middle school, we have a lot of fun.”

Hudson said she doesn’t see middle school students break into groups as they do in high school. “They’re still so young and accepting. For the most part, they’re friends with everybody. I like that. When you get to high school, if you’re in the drama club, often those are your friends. If you're on the football team, those are your friends.”

Preparing Lunsford’s students for high school is part of Hudon’s mission as their principal. “I want them to be prepared for the rigor of high school. It is very different from middle school. They need to be able to balance their workload. They need to be able to focus on academics, but also have time for themselves and what they really like to do, what they’re passionate about.

“Time management is really important. That’s a skill we all need going beyond high school. You’ve got to be able to do that and be independent.”

Time-management is something Hudson’s working on with her own sixth-grader. “He’s realizing that he’s missed homework a couple of times. He doesn’t have a system of organization. He’s got to figure that out. His dad and I are here to support him, but at the end of the day he’s the one in the class and he’s got to manage that. Sometimes it’s hard to watch kids fail. They feel bad. It’s hard to watch that, because you don’t want your kid to feel bad. But at the end of the day, he’s got to learn to organize so it doesn’t happen again.”

Building a culture of caring and community is what Hudson will be all about at Lunsford. “I’m really proud to be the principal here. I want to be a partner with teachers and staff. I really want to cultivate – more so than what's already here – a family environment, not just for the kids, but for our staff too. That’s really important for me. I want everybody to come to work feeling happy and supported. That they’re really fulfilled here.”

Published September 20, 2023