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Varina Administrative Team


Dr. Darin A. Thompson, Principal

Dr. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He later pursued further studies through the Special Education Teacher certification program at Virginia Union University. Dr. Thompson also obtained a second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, an Education Specialist degree, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Regent University. Dr. Thompson is endorsed in Special Education K-12 and Administration and Supervision. He also holds a Division Superintendent License through the Virginia Department of Education.

After teaching 7th grade at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Richmond Public Schools, Dr. Thompson taught and served as a Special Education Department Chair at Freedom High School in Woodbridge, Virginia. He was also a football coach at Woodbridge High School and Brentsville District High School during that time. Dr. Thompson later embarked upon a journey in school leadership, where he has served as both a Middle School and High School principal. Dr. Thompson is currently the principal of Varina High School in Henrico County.

In closing, he has been a member of and has been involved with a number of committees and professional organizations throughout his career. Dr. Thompson’s strengths rest with building relationships, collaborating with parents, staff, and students, and creating a culture of excellence. Dr. Thompson’s areas of expertise are student engagement and culturally responsive school leadership.

Ms. April Hawkins, Associate Principal
Welcome to the 21-22 School Year. I am so happy to be a part of the Blue Devil Family of students, parents, and community partners and this Magnificent team of educators. I am April Hawkins and I serve as the Associate Principal at Varina High School. I have been in education for 25 years – serving in the capacity of Business Teacher, Math Teacher, Department Chair, Assistant Principal and Principal and have loved every day of it. My two wonderful sons help me to stay grounded on doing what is best for kids. Having a passion for what I do, I look forward to continuing the rich traditions of Varina High School for our students, families, and the community. Please remember, a good education is the foundation for a better future. It is our plan at Blue Devil Nation to give you a World Class Education that will lead to a strong solid foundation.
Ms. Katy Noah, Assistant Principal
I came to Varina in 1996 as an exceptional education teacher. I was a department leader and an instructional assistant until 2000, where I became an assistant principal.
Before coming to Varina, I taught exceptional education in Tampa Florida, Atlanta Georgia, and Raleigh North Carolina.

I love being at Varina and getting to know the wonderful students and their families. I have been here so long, I am beginning to see children of former students!

Mr. Trae Turpin, Assistant Principal
A native of Richmond, I have been employed with Henrico County Public Schools for the past 17 years. I attended Hampton University where I majored in Sociology. As a “career switcher”, I began my teaching career at Highland Springs High School in 2003 as an Exceptional Education teacher, and later became a member of the administration team at Hermitage High School. In 2011, I earned a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2013 I joined the administration team at Varina High School, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our students and families in the Varina community.
Leadership Philosophy
My educational leadership philosophy centers around the belief that all students can learn and are provided opportunities to grow and develop as lifelong learners who take active roles in their own learning experiences. In my role as an instructional leader at our school, it is imperative to work with teachers and students in guiding the instructional program to provide relevant and impactful learning experiences that will better equip our students to be responsible, contributing members of our global society. Ensuring that our students are provided the opportunity to learn in a safe environment designed to promote critical thinking, respect for diversity, respect for self, intellectual interest, and participation in our community, is my top priority. Our primary goal as school community is to meet the needs of our diverse student population by preparing them with the tools necessary to be successful in society regardless of which post-secondary pathway they choose. I look forward to a PHENOMENAL school year!
Ms. Arline Robinson, Assistant Principal
I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology Education from Virginia Union University. My Master of Education was obtained from Virginia Commonwealth University. I received my Educational Leadership & Policy Endorsement from the University of Richmond.
Before becoming an assistant principal at Varina High School, I was a science teacher at Highland Springs High School for twenty years. At HSHS, I served as an administrative aide, lead biology teacher, mentor, and sponsor of several clubs and activities (Prom, YADAPP, SADD, and PRIDE).
Educational Leadership Philosophy:
My philosophy of educational leadership is based on the concept that all students have the ability to learn. Learning is a process that is constantly changing; teaching strategies that worked twenty years ago will not work with the modern day student. Being in education for the past twenty-one years, I have observed that students learn in different ways and at different speeds. Learning must be tailored to the different learning styles present in the classroom. Many students are visual learners, while others are hands-on learners. Some students may have a combination of several different learning styles. In addition to the different learning styles, some students have learning disabilities and/or have English as a second language. These students will also need personalized opportunities for learning. With all types of learners, all students learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process. There is an old but wise saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. In today’s educational system of accountability, it takes a village (which includes students, parents, teachers, administrators, community members, and government officials) to ensure that all children can learn. As an assistant principal at Varina High School, my purpose is to be a part of the “village”. My moral purpose for leading is to ensure that all students have opportunities to learn in a safe environment from qualified and caring educators. Another part of my moral purpose as an instructional leader is to provide teachers with opportunities to improve their instruction. Whether this is through observations or professional development, I want to always provide my teachers opportunities for growth. In addition, as a leader I am committed to making sure the students and the teachers I serve feel valued and appreciated at Varina. Lastly as a leader at Varina High School, I will work with the leadership team to make sure every Varina student will become a responsible citizen that seeks employment, enlistment, or enrollment after graduation.

Mr. Dondre Lightfoot, headshot

Mr. Dondre Lightfoot, Administrative Intern
Center for Communications and Media Relations

Hello, my name is Dondre’ Lightfoot, and I am excited to be a part of the rich history and pride deeply rooted in Varina High School and the “Route 5” community. I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Chowan University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Regent University. Before coming to Varina, I was a mathematics teacher at L. Douglas Wilder Middle School. While teaching, I’ve held roles as an Administrative Aide, New Teacher Academy Coordinator, Math Curriculum Writer, Grade Level Chair, Fundraiser Chair, and Summer Academy Assistant Coordinator. I am also honored to end my classroom journey as my school’s 2021 – 2022 Teacher of the Year! My educational philosophy is that each student, and their unique learning style, deserves a safe learning environment to become positive contributors to society. I dedicate myself to ensuring our youth have a meaningful and equitable learning experience while empowering leaders!