Welcome, Principal Kownacki!

By Fairfax County Public Schools Region 5 Office
March 29, 2023

The Region 5 Leadership Team is pleased to announce that Mr. Peter Kownacki has been named the new principal of Rocky Run Middle School!

Mr. Peter Kownacki holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, a Master of Teaching in Secondary Social Studies, and an administrative certification, all from the University of Virginia. Mr. Kownacki has 11 years of school administration experience having served as an assistant principal at South Lakes High School and Rocky Run Middle School prior to becoming a principal at South County Middle School four years ago. He started his career with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) as a teacher at Robinson Secondary School in 2005.

Mr. Kownacki is currently serving as the principal of South County Middle School, which is a diverse school with a large Advanced Academics Center, Intellectual Disabilities Program, and English Language Learner Programs. During his tenure as principal of South County Middle School, Mr. Kownacki has developed numerous curricular programs that support student academic and social/emotional well-being. He collaborated with teacher leaders to create and implement a multi-year, data-driven, school improvement and innovation plan that targeted growth in disciplinary literacy, supported student social and emotional learning through connectedness, decreased discipline referrals among demographic sub-groups, increased enrollment in honors level courses for minority

students, and incorporated feedback and choice to students through Portrait of a Graduate Presentations of Learning. He established a comprehensive and data-driven Multi-Tiered System of Support that focused on Tier 1 instructional and behavioral strategies for all students, data-driven Tier 2 targeted interventions through an innovative six-week rotation model during learning seminar, and Tier 3 support classes for students who needed a more intensive level of support. This model has served as an exemplar within the division.

Mr. Kownacki has demonstrated throughout his career that being a clear, transparent communicator is a strength. During his time at South County, Mr. Kownacki led the entire school community in the development of a new vision, mission, and motto statements which strive to empower Honorable, Empathetic, Resilient and Dedicated (HERD) learners. In addition, Mr. Kownacki designed and facilitated bi-weekly book studies with members of the extended administrative team, and led professional development sessions for staff, to explore the concept of dignity and equity in the school. Mr. Kownacki has empowered student leadership and voice through the establishment of a Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) student group, a Principal’s Advisory Committee (PAC), and a Student Equity Ambassador Leaders (SEALS) Committee. These student-led groups create and facilitate lessons for their peers based on Tier 1 behavior expectations and meet regularly with the leadership team to advocate for the student perspective.

Mr. Kownacki is a leader who is thoughtful, reflective, decisive, collaborative, and empathetic. He has a strong belief in the power of relationships and the importance of ensuring that ALL students, families, and staff members feel seen, heard, and connected to their school community during these important middle school years. Having previously served as an Assistant Principal at Rocky Run MS, he is uniquely suited to work with the students, staff, and parents in this community during these important transitional years of adolescence.

Mr. Kownacki is happily married to another FCPS educator (his wife Katy is an Assistant Principal at Frost Middle School). They met as first year teachers at Robinson SS and have three children. Outside of school, he enjoys spending time with his family at soccer fields, basketball courts, and swimming pools all over Virginia. He is an avid (and long-suffering) UVA and DC sports fan. When he is not “principaling” you can find him watching sports, gardening, cooking, or at the gym. Please join our Region Leadership Team in welcoming Mr. Peter Kownacki as the new principal of Rocky Run Middle School!  He starts his new position on July 3.  We are pleased to share that Mrs. Amanda Burke, Acting Principal, will continue to serve the Rocky Run community for the remainder of the school year.  Mrs. Burke, collaboratively with the administrative team, stands ready to lead and support students, staff, and families through the next few months and work with Mr. Kownacki to plan for the leadership transition.