Headshot of Denita Bottoms

Denita Bottoms

Assistant Principal

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Christopher Newport University; Master of Arts in Urban Education School Counseling, Norfolk State University; Education Specialist Degree, Regent University; Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Nova Southeastern University 

Denita Bottoms joined Virginia Connections Academy in 2022. Originally starting as manager of counseling services and now assistant principal, she enjoys the close relationships she builds with students and their families. 

Why I Decided to Become an Educator

The best educator I ever had was my high school counselor. She was an inspiration to me and is one of the reasons I pursued a counseling career. Her ability to guide students like me and be the support system we were missing, and her unconventional techniques for encouraging students to open up, were remarkable. I strive to bring that same passion for innovative ways to support and guide my students throughout their academic careers. 

The thing I love most about this school is that every day I have the opportunity to provide meaningful support and feedback whenever students need it. As a virtual counselor, I have the time to build relationships with my students and families to help them thrive and be successful. 

The Online School Program Experience at Virginia Connections Academy

We’re consistently in touch with parents, letting them know they’re welcome, while highlighting the important role they play as Learning Coaches in the education of their students. Teachers make personal contact with students through emails, phone calls, and field trips, all while ensuring a safe learning environment. 

Generally, parents’ involvement in schools is limited to dropping off or picking up students and attending school activities or teacher conferences. But in an online school program like this one, parents are vital to their child’s academic success. They are more willing to take the time to build quality relationships with the school staff.

“This school creates a welcoming community for parents and students through communication and family engagement.”

— Ms. Bottoms

Preparing Students for the Future

This school helps prepare students for a bright future by imprinting essential life skills needed for success and the challenges they’ll face later in life. This is done by helping students use problem-solving skills and think through issues in a logical way. In addition, students here are given many opportunities to meet and build relationships with students, teachers, and other families across the state of Virginia, which helps develop a positive understanding of diversity.