Principal's Message


    Dear GQES Families and Friends,

    WELCOME to Garland R. Quarles Elementary School (GQES), home of the Chameleons,  year three of this pandemic.  The Covid-19 Pandemic shut all schools down on 3/16/20 during the 2019-2020 school year and has continued during the 2020-2021 school year.  We are actually entering year three of this pandemic, the school year of 2021-2022.  

    Together, #WeGotThis!

    Please refer to the Winchester Public Schools' website on our Looking Forward site in year three of this pandemic.

     At GQES, our vision is to be a THRIVING LITERACY COMMUNITY in a STEM SCHOOL!!! The faculty and staff of Garland R. Quarles Elementary School (GQES) is committed to providing a rich, supportive learning environment where students thrive by developing a deep understanding of content while emphasizing kindness, empathy, compassion and caring.  Moreover, we will be following protocols to be safe in this pandemic.  GQES is fully accredited by the State of Virginia as of the last ten years of Standards of Learning Results.  The state's accreditation system must take second place to ALL OF OUR STUDENTS'  AND OUR FACULTY ' AND STAFF'S WELL BEING AND OVERALL HEALTH. 

    At GQES, reading, writing, math, science, social studies, technology, and engineering are at the center of each instructional day for our students in grades PreK-4.  We continuously monitor our school’s highest priorities:  what we teach (guaranteed and viable curriculum), how we teach (rigorous lessons) through authentic literacy (purposeful student engagement).    All decisions are connected to our school’s vision:  thriving literacy community in a STEM school.  Our administration, faculty, staff, families, and students are focusing on three key concepts this year at GQES:  BONDING and PLAYING and  WORKING WELL WITH OUR CURRICULUM.    Social connections are important in a pandemic.  As important to social emotional learning are the ways children and families can explore, play, and discover their interests in learning.  Students learn best when the curriculum is meaningful and purposeful and relevant.  

    Daily, we will make instructional adjustments, monitor data, and share what is working during  professional learning communities.  In addition, we have meetings, vertical and horizontal teams and Title I School Leadership and School Quality Team meetings.  Lastly, we will work closely with updates from the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Health in this pandemic along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).   

    It is my distinct pleasure to serve as Principal at Garland R. Quarles Elementary School.  Thank you for taking an interest in our school and community!  Please contact our school at 540-662-3575 if you have any questions or contact me on my school cell phone at 540-974-5903.  

    Please stay safe and stay well.  

    With gratitude,

    Joanie Hovatter


Education & Experience

  • Joanie Hovatter has a Bachelor's Degree in ECED Prek-4 from James Madison University as well as a Master's Degree as a  Reading Specialist from Shenandoah University.  She currently holds an Administration/Supervision K-12 endorsement from the University of Virginia. Ms. Hovatter is working on completing her doctorate in Educational Leadership in Fall 2021 from Shenandoah University as a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED).     Mrs. Hovatter has been in Education since 1984.  Her previous roles include:  third grade teacher, kindergarten teacher, first grade teacher, reading specialist, Reading Recovery trained teacher, high school girls assistant basketball coach, assistant principal, and principal at both the elementary and middle school levels.   Mrs. Hovatter is a teacher consultant with the National Writing Project.  She and her husband, Sonny are the parents of four children who have graduated from Radford University, Elon University, and the University of Baltimore County.  They are also the proud grandparents of two grandchildren. Ms. Hovatter loves to read, write, and travel.    The Hovatters reside in Shenandoah County, Virginia where Mr. Hovatter farms full time. 

Chameleons: Be KIND

  • Be KIND

    Striving for excellence and continuous improvement is a hallmark of Winchester Public Schools.  WPS’s motto of Learning For All....Whatever It Takes is a cornerstone of effective schools' research.  Dr. Lawrence W. Lezotte’s Research on Correlates of Effective Schools includes:

    • Instructional Leadership
    • Clear and Focused Mission
    • Safe and Orderly Environment
    • Climate of High Expectations
    • Frequent Monitoring of Student Progress
    • Positive Home-School Relations
    • Opportunity to Learn and Time on Task

    To insure a safe and orderly environment, GQES has been studying discipline data, academic data, and attendance data while making changes to better serve our students, specifically our most marginalized students. We have done this through reviewing data on race, ethnicity,  and gender.  We have found that building relationships is by far the best way to help students, specifically those who may have behavioral concerns.  We have used a positive behavior intervention system and have grown in our awareness of how to work with challenging situations.  A team approach between teacher, student, parent, administration while working with community resources has been helpful for us at GQES.