Meet the principals of CHS

The principals of Chatham High School are more than disciplinarians and figure-heads; they provide the tone for our daily lives and establish the direction of our school.

Mr. Randy foster has been a principal for 20 years. “I feel that being around young people keeps me young,” he said.

Mr. Foster loves his job. “I have been fortunate to have many awesome, talented assistant principals over the last 10 years. I really enjoy the camaraderie that I have with my administrative staff and the rest of the staff at Chatham High School; I have been richly blessed.

“The most important part of my job is helping to create a safe environment that is conductive to learning. I want every student at CHS to feel welcome and valued,” he said.

“Without a doubt, one of the most rewarding parts of my job is to see a student who was once struggling, turn himself around, graduate from high school, and live a happy and productive life.”

Mr. Foster is in his twenty-ninth  year in education. He taught math, physical science, physics for nine years: all at Chatham High School.

Mr. Foster graduated from Brookville High School in Campbell County in 1980. He went to Liberty College for math and physics, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for educational leadership, and Liberty University Theological Seminary for Masters of Arts in Theological Studies.

Mrs. Jessica Dalton, assistant principal at CHS for three years, said, “My primary job is to make sure that our students are safe and to ensure the success of our students. I’m a mother; relationships with others are very important to me. Just like I want my daughter to be successful and graduate one day, I want my students to do the same; when you guys graduate, I am successful in my job.

“I love the athletic events and watching kids being competitive. The hardest part of my job is calling parents when I have to discipline their children. The easiest part of my job is getting to know the kids and building a relationship with them,” she said. “I particularly enjoy Positive Referrals because I’m often in the position of “bad guy” when I have to impose discipline. When I congratulate y’all for doing great, it warms my heart. When a student learns a “life lesson,” the mother side of me comes out, and I feel like I made a difference, and hopefully the student will be successful because of the lessons learned during that difficult time.”

The journey to a position as assistant principal was a difficult one, said Mrs. Dalton. “First I got a master’s degree and passed the licensure test which was not easy. After I did that, I knew that I wanted to work near Chatham because that’s where I lived my entire life. Choosing the job at CHS was easy; I wanted to give back to my community, so I applied. Then I went into the interview with six or seven people asking me questions; it was tough. Ultimately, it was the best decision for me.”

Mrs. Dalton graduated from Hargrave Military Academy; she was one of the last women to graduate. Her undergraduate work was completed at Virginia Tech. She earned her master’s from Lynchburg College. Prior to becoming assistant principal, she was a teacher for ten years in Pittsylvania County Schools.

“I love my students and staff; that’s the motivation I use to keep coming and dealing with students. I am a mother, relationships are very important to me. I want students to be successful; when they graduate I feel successful  at my job.”

Mrs. Dalton enjoys giving students who are successful good referrals. “The referrals make me feel great, because we (principals) are often perceived as  the “bad guys;” so when I congratulate them its heart warming.”

Mr. Jason Reese has been an assistant principal for two years. “Chatham High School is the best one of all the high schools,” he said.

“The most import important part of my job is being a positive and productive part of young peoples’ lives. One thing that keeps me coming back and dealing with children is the connection I have with all my students.” He loves his job, but there are things that make it hard for him. “The hardest part about my job is having to make tough decisions for students. I take being an administrator just  like being a parent.”

Mr. Reese graduated from Chatham High School. He completed his  undergraduate studies at Averett College in sociology and criminal justice.

He was a Navy swimmer and worked overseas, but it didn’t fit what he ultimately wanted to do. “I was capturing criminals with the military, but I didn’t want my life to be about the negative, so after leaving the military, I was  a firefighter for five years. Eventually, I wanted to be home more for my son; I was working two jobs and wasn’t home much. I enjoyed teaching seminars as a firefighter, so I pursued that,” he said.

“I was a special education teacher for nine years. I wanted to advance, so I became an assistant principal. I enjoy my job.”

He loves awarding students with good referrals. “It feels great to award good students with good referrals. Everyone makes mistakes, but when you learn from them and do right, it shows your true character. I’m proud to be here, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”