Crossing boundaries


Christina Lu

Ms. Chrystal Benson returns for her second year at Jefferson as Assistant Principal.

Christina Lu, Editor-in-Chief

30 years in Maryland. One year in Virginia.

Before coming to Jefferson, Assistant Principal Chrystal Benson worked in education in Maryland for three decades.

“I was a principal and high school director. Prior to that, I was an assistant principal and taught math,” Benson said.

Benson expected Jefferson students to be drastically different from those she worked with in Maryland.

“I noticed that no matter what, where, or which school; teenagers are teenagers. The aha moment that I had is that students at Jefferson have the same needs as all other students. They want to belong and they want the best education possible so that they can accomplish their dreams for the future,” Benson said.

In her second year at Jefferson, Benson serves the senior class, oversees the math and computer science departments, and works to optimize the environment for learning and teaching.

“Belonging brings a sense of safety. We want to maintain a climate of psychological safety so that students feel free to go to their teachers and other trusted adults, and teachers feel like they can come to the administration,” Benson said.

As a former math teacher, one of Benson’s main goals is to support young women in STEM.

“I found that young men will feel more comfortable in the STEM program, so I want to work to support young ladies to build that confidence also,” Benson said.

Benson also hopes to implement MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support), a county-wide framework for supporting the needs of students, into Jefferson’s day to day practices.

“It’s a way for us to identify students when we have concerns academically, with wellness, or with attendance and for us to plan interventions together with the student, the parents, the teacher, so that we can address the concerns properly,” Benson said.

With those goals to work towards, Benson is looking forward to her second year at Jefferson.

“I enjoyed my first year here.” Benson said. “I’m looking forward to [the senior class] going out and conquering the world.”