HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – As we move into the second week of Back to School, there’s a familiar face in a new position with Hampton City Schools. Dr. Raymond Haynes is the new superintendent of the school system.

Dr. Haynes began his career with Hampton City Schools 29 years ago as an intern in a counseling position. He went the administrative route, becoming an assistant principal and then a principal at all levels of schooling. Now, he says he is excited to give back to a community that has embraced him for so long.

“Hampton has poured so much into me. I can’t say enough about the city, the school system, what they’ve done for me, my family, as well as my daughter, my daughter is a graduate of Hampton City Schools, and I just consider it an honor and blessing to be able to serve in this role in a city that gave so much to me,” Haynes said.

He said he is looking forward to building on the academies of Hampton. Dr. Haynes says there are currently 16 academies with 46 pathways to help get students career ready and mold them into the portrait of a Hampton graduate. That includes a positive sense of self, collaboration, leadership, and more.

He says teachers are working hard to prepare elementary students for higher levels of learning by giving them signature opportunities.

“For example, 5th grade, we’re looking at how they would actually put on a career fair, and actually seeing themselves in that career fair based on specific areas of interest they may have. So, making certain it’s not just folks coming in to talk about what their career entails versus them being thoroughly immersed in the work, and them talking from the perspective of them actually being in that particular job and how they see themselves.”

Dr. Haynes says the Hampton School System is the first in the nation to be designated as a K-through-12 Learning Community with Ford Next Generation Learning. Ford Next Generation is the organization Hampton City Schools partners with for its academies.

As for safety in schools, Dr. Haynes says it is the school system’s number one priority.

“We continue to have measures in place to be proactive. We’re installing ballistic film into the buildings as well. We have sensors that will let, or alert, administrators if doors are propped open for a certain period of time. We continue to have the K9s come in and do their searches to be more proactive and preventative in measures as well. We have our weapons detections units that all young people walk through on a daily basis.”