Valwood in the News

Valwood announces new upper school dean

March 17, 2018

HAHIRA, Georgia March 8, 2018 – Valwood School is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Steven Hankla as their next upper school dean.

Dr. Hankla currently serves as the Director of Coastal Plains Education Charter High School and has over thirty years of education experience as an educator, administrator, director and state program supervisor. He will bring a wealth of knowledge and accomplishments to Valwood. His administrative experiences include: high school principal at Lanier County, middle school principal in Lee County, an assistant high school principal at Valdosta High, and Director of CTAE program at Colquitt County High School. Prior to Coastal Plains, Dr. Hankla served as a School Improvement Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education and as the Director of Region VIII for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, representing Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Some of his honors include “Professional of the Year Award” for the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (2009), Principal of the Year in 2005-2006, and Georgia Assistant Principal of the Year 2002”. He was recently selected to serve on the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce’s Law, Education and Workforce Policy Committee for 2018.

Dr. Hankla believes that “a professional learning community provides an education for life and values academic rigor, communication, respect for one another, community service, balanced learning, informed faculty, and career exploration.”

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Hankla is credited with the implementation of several programs at Lanier County High School designed to personalize services and improve instruction for children. During his tenure, the performance of Lanier County students on the SAT made considerable gains placing the school system among some of the higher scores in South Georgia.

“This year will be my fortieth in education, and I cannot think of a better way to begin the final chapter of my education career.” Hankla stated. “I look forward to working with the students, faculty, and board and joining the Valwood family.”

Dr. Hankla, and his wife of thirty years, Vickie, are active members of the Valdosta community. They have three children and 5 grandchildren. He grew up in Chicago with a love for music and has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Music Education. He later discovered his true passion for education, so he attained an education specialist degree from Troy State University, his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State and his Doctor of Education from Valdosta State University.

Valwood Head of School, John Davis stated, “I am excited about the experience and passion for education that Dr. Hankla brings to the position of Upper School Dean. I know he will be a great addition to the Valwood Family.”