•    Joanie Hovatter, Principal
    Joanie Hovatter


    Garland Quarles Logo

Principal's Message

  • Dear Chameleon Families and Friends,

    WELCOME to the 2023-2024 school year at Garland R. Quarles Elementary School (GQES), home of the Chameleons! At GQES, our vision is to be a THRIVING LITERACY COMMUNITY IN A STEM SCHOOL! Our mission is CHAMELEONS RISE! The faculty and staff of GQES is committed to providing a supportive learning environment where all learners thrive by developing literacy skills as well as a deep understanding of content while emphasizing kindness, empathy, compassion, and caring. All decisions filter through our school’s vision and mission. Our goals are to focus on improving overall student academic performance, student attendance, and student behavior. 

    You may know, we have 4 recesses every day at GQES!!! According to the American Association of Pediatrics, free play is a fundamental component of a child’s normal growth and development (Ginsburg, K.R., 2009). Researchers Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle have studied 700 articles published in peer-reviewed educational, medical, and scientific journals that have formed the basis for their book, LET THE CHILDREN PLAY. In their research, they noticed rising obesity, declining mental health, increasing stress, growing disengagement in school, and lack of life satisfaction. They also noticed the overprescription of drugs to deal with childhood problems that may be caused by a variety of cultural and social stresses, including the lack of intellectual and physical play (Sahblerg, P. & Doyle, 2019, p. 37). Therefore, we celebrate learning through play, daily! 

    At GQES, we will EMPOWER our staff, our community and our partnerships to help our students and families!  We will create a safe and orderly environment where we make changes to better serve our students and families.  We review data on race, ethnicity, and gender regularly.

    We believe a team approach between students, teacher, parent, administration, and specialists, while working with community resources is the best for all!  We emphasize POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS and HIGH EXPECTATIONS every day at GQES for everyone.  Maximizing our school’s culture through collaboration is how we empower others!!!

    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 questions or you can contact me on my school’s cell phone at 540-974-5903. Stay safe and stay well!

    With gratitude,

    Joanie Hovatter



    Ginsburg, K.R; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Communications; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics. 2007; 119 (1): 182-191. 

    Sahlberg, P. & Doyle, W. (2019). Let the children play. New York, NY: Oxford.

Education & Experience

  • Joanie Hovatter has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education Prek-4 from James Madison University as well as a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist from Shenandoah University. She currently holds an Administrative/Supervision K-12 endorsement from the University of Virginia. Currently, Mrs. Hovatter is writing her dissertation on recesses as part of completing her doctoral program at Shenandoah University. Through this program, she is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). Mrs. Hovatter taught third grade, first grade, and kindergarten before becoming a Reading Specialist and Reading Recovery trained teacher. She has been a high school assistant basketball coach for varsity and junior varsity teams, an assistant principal at the elementary and middle school levels and has also served as a middle school principal. Mrs. Hovatter is a teacher consultant with the National Writing Project. She and her husband, Sonny, are the parents of four children who graduated from public schools before graduating from Radford University (RU), Elon University (EU) and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC). They are also the proud grandparents of two grandchildren. Mrs. Hovatter loves to read, write, travel, and laugh! The Hovatters reside in Shenandoah County, Virginia where Mr. Hovatter is a full-time farmer.

Chameleons: Be KIND

  • Be KIND