Principal's Message


    Dear John Kerr Parents/Guardians and Students, 

    John Kerr has an incredible amount to celebrate as we begin the 2020-2021 school year and continue to go “Full Steam Ahead.”  Last year we ended the year in a way none of us expected, but it was an outstanding year for our school.  We implemented the house system, creating school wide connections while participating in house meetings, competitions, and other activities.  Our students performed The Wizard of Oz for our school, a culmination of an entire school year of practice and work.  We were awarded the METRICs grant, which will assist John Kerr in continuing to be on the cutting edge of computer science and STEAM education.  Our PEDLE program, which focuses on personalized learning, digital learning experiences, as well as collaborative projects, was expanded to both 3rd and 4th grades.  John Kerr developed and implemented our new PEAP program, consisting of multiage classrooms focussed on character education, and student instruction on skill level, while maximizing resources and instructional time.  We participated in our first Boosterthon with our PTO, raising over $10,000 for our school community.  

    The 2020-2021 school year will inevitably be a school year like no other.  Our top priority  will remain the safety and well being of all students, above all else.  We will do everything we can to ensure a safe and secure environment for students.  In addition, we will continue to grow as educators, pushing the limits and boundaries of our academic world, finding new ways to address student achievement.  Our teachers are prepared to implement the highest level of achievement, focusing on student learning and development, while ensuring that we address the social and emotional needs of our children.  I am confident that we can achieve this, whether we are learning in person or from a distance. 

    Our goal is to create passionate, creative, lifelong learners at John Kerr.  We strive to foster the curiosity and spirit of all our students, implementing learning that focuses on critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication, and global citizenship.  This year we will all be learning and finding new ways to create this type of environment for students.  There is a possibility that while our year begins with both hybrid and distance learning, it could transition to all distance learning for certain students.  Again, I am confident that no matter the circumstances, our teachers are up for the challenge. 

     I look forward to working with you to provide an innovative and safe school experience for students, where they can learn to grow, take risks, explore, and challenge themselves in many capacities.  I am honored to serve as your principal, and I look forward to continuing to develop John Kerr as students' second “home.”   If I can ever help you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 


    Beth O’Donnell, Principal

    (540) 431-1415

Education & Experience

  • Ms. O’Donnell has enjoyed the field of education for 15 years. She began her career in Louisa County teaching 5th grade. Following a move to Northern Virginia, she taught in gifted centers in Fairfax County for 4 years, at both the 4th and 5th grade level. 

    After relocating back to Winchester, her hometown, she taught at both Daniel Morgan Middle School and John Kerr Elementary School. Previously, she served as the Lead Teacher at John Kerr before moving on to an Instructional Coaching position in Frederick County Public Schools.  From January 2016 till June 2019, Ms. O'Donnell served as the Assistant Principal at John Kerr Elementary School.  

    Ms. O'Donnell earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in History from Randolph-Macon College in 2006, a Master’s of Arts in Teaching from George Mason University in 2011, and a certificate in Administration and Leadership from James Madison University in 2015. She currently resides in Winchester with her husband, Joe, and three year old twins, Joseph and Chandler.