Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William (SBGPW) has selected Tawnya Soltis to serve as its Acting Executive Director, beginning in January. Soltis has spent 32 years working in Greater Prince William serving the needs of teachers, students and parents, in both professional development initiatives for teachers and administrators, and as an award-winning elementary school principal for several local schools, including Old Bridge and Montclair Elementary Schools.
Soltis’s appointment to Acting Director will replace Smart Beginnings’s first and founding Director, Kendra Kielbasa.
“After nearly seven years with Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William (SBGPW), it is time to transition to a different role,” Kielbasa said. “I’ve joined my husband in State College, Pennsylvania, where he has relocated due to a new career opportunity. While I have a mix of emotions leaving the community I love, I am confident the forward momentum in our local early childhood initiatives will continue to grow at an increasing rate. Tawnya brings the experience, knowledge, and leadership that will help take this organization to the next level. She’s an asset to our community. I look forward to seeing SBGPW grow under her leadership.”
Larry Hughes, Chairman, SBGPW, expressed appreciation for Kendra’s work, and said he is excited about working with Tawnya.
“We welcome Tawnya to Smart Beginnings and wish to thank Kendra for her contributions,” he said. “We are grateful for Kendra’s relationship-building skills that have fostered numerous partnerships, collaborations, and have developed a team of highly adept volunteers who provide the backbone for our initiatives.”
About Tawnya Soltis
Soltis began her career as an administrator in 1991, where she served in a professional development and training role within Prince William County Schools, and thereafter worked as an assistant principal at Triangle Elementary and West Gate Elementary. She served as principal from 2000 until her retirement in July 2017, first at Old Bridge Elementary and then at Montclair Elementary.
In her role as principal, Soltis was nominated for the Washington Post’s Distinguished Principal award in 2009, and received the Betty D. Covington Educator’s Award for Dedicated Service to the Youth of Prince William County in 2014. The schools that Soltis led as principal received multiple awards for being Distinguished Schools of Excellence. Along with these academic achievements, Soltis is very proud of her work within the communities surrounding these elementary schools.
“I am so proud of the work our schools have done to support organizations like ACTS and SERVE, and I am thrilled to be able to continue to serve the community by supporting and leading Smart Beginnings,” said Soltis.
After retiring from the Prince William County School system in July 2017, Tawnya continued her work with PWCS as a Leadership Mentor, and most recently, providing training to principals for school advisory councils. She regularly volunteers in three elementary schools’ classrooms: Fannie Fitzgerald Elementary, Minnieville Elementary, and Covington-Harper Elementary.
Soltis became aware of Smart Beginnings through the Books for Babies program at Novant Health in Manassas, and also through the work of Board Member Alison Nourse-Miller in supporting Books for Babies.
“I have had the opportunity throughout my career to support our elementary-aged students, and now I am so pleased to be able to support the next generation of children by providing opportunities and educational support for children from birth to age 5 and their families. I really believe that what Smart Beginnings provides is critical to the needs of early education in our community.”
“I believe in supporting the whole child, as well as supporting our parents, who are the child’s first teacher. I love the quote by Virginia’s First Lady, that all children deserve preschool education, regardless of income and zip code, and working toward those valuable goals are what I am looking forward to doing.”
About Smart Beginnings
Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William is a partnership of public and private agencies, businesses, and individuals serving Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, by working to enhance the quality of early childhood care and learning for young children. Birth to age 5 is the most significant time for laying a strong foundation for future learning, and Smart Beginnings GPW works to support positive relationships and healthy habits and routines for the children in our community and to help them be ready for school and ready for life.
If you would like more information about Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William, please call Tawnya Soltis at 703.399.6247, or email [email protected]