Principal's Message

  • Dear John Kerr Parents/Guardians and Students, 

    John Kerr has an incredible amount to celebrate as we begin the 2019-2020 school year and continue to go “full steam ahead.”  In our third year, we continued to be a pioneer for innovation as we fully implemented our PEDLE program in fourth grade and integrated personalized learning throughout our school in all grade levels.  STEAM education remained a critical component at John Kerr, through the creation of a MakerSpace in our Library Media Center, participation in the Kid Wind Challenge, Lego League, and by including STEM challenges into students’ core instructional day.  We continued to explore the “A” in STEAM, by offering after school piano lessons, performing an amazing musical, Cinderella, and many other musical performances throughout the year. We integrated Character Counts pillars into our PBIS program, continuing to promote a positive, safe school climate for all students.

    In addition, John Kerr Elementary is one of 52 schools to earn the Virginia Board of Education Highest Achievement Award.  In order to earn this award a school has to earn accreditation, as well as ensure there is no more than a five percent gap in sub groups between the lowest-performing group and all other students in the school.  This is a fantastic recognition of all the hard work staff and students have put in over the past three years. Congratulations to all!  

    For the upcoming school year, our Personalized Education and Digital Learning Experience program, PEDLE, will be fully implemented across both third and fourth grades.  This program will continue to allow students to experience authentic, real world learning and be an active participant in designing how they learn throughout the day. Student reflection and ownership of their learning is an integral part of this experience.  Beginning this year, staff at John Kerr will pilot the Personalized Early Acceleration Program, or PEAP, that will include a kindergarten class, two first grade classes, and a second grade class. These students will participate in a multi-age accelerated format for instruction.  

    The excitement at JKES will continue into the 2019-2020 school year.  We will continue to create life-long learners by exploring creativity, student ownership, and best practices in the classroom.  Our school will be adopting a house program that will instill a sense of belonging, pride, and personal growth in everything student.  Our goal is to create a positive, inclusive school community that fosters building relationships, character excitement, and school spirit.  

    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 new principal, and look forward to creating new opportunities at John Kerr. If I can ever help you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. It is my goal to create a warm and inviting environment for all families throughout the school year.  


    Beth O’Donnell, Principal 

Education & Experience

  • Ms. O’Donnell has enjoyed the field of education for 13 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, twin son and daughter, and her dog and cats.​