Our Writers

Dr. David Ellena
James Madison University, B.S., Virginia State University, M.Ed. & Ed.D.

David began his education career in 1985 as a teacher in the Prince George School Division before joining the Chesterfield system in 1989. David retired June 2021 as principal in the Chesterfield School Division. He served as a Chesterfield school administrator for 21 years.

In 2018, David was selected as the 2018 Outstanding Middle School Principal of Virginia and the Virginia Student Councils Association honored him in 2020 as their VSCA Middle School Administrator of the Year.
David has a rich background in VASSP leadership and the Virginia principalship having served on the association’s governing board as a member at-large, regional director and president over a span of 12 years.” David was elected to the NASSP Board of Directors and served nationally from 2008-2012.
David grew up in an association family. His father, Dr. William J. Ellena, served as deputy executive director of the American Association of School Administrators beginning in the late 1960s before becoming superintendent of the Charlottesville City School Division, 1973-1981.

Dr. Roger E. Jones

Brevard College, A.A., Western Carolina University, B.S.E.,  Arkansas State University, M.S.E., University of Virginia, Ed.D.

Professor of Education Leadership
Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
Director of the Doctor of Education in Leadership Studies Program
Co-director of the Center for Education and Leadership.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Lynchburg, Roger spent 32 years in public education with Lynchburg City Schools serving as a teacher, coach, middle school principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Roger also served as both summer institute and webinar faculty for the Virginia Foundation for Educational Leadership’s partnership with the Virginia Department of Education working with the Virginia School Improvement Initiative.  He has provided both Breaking Ranks and Breaking Ranks in the Middle (BRIM) training throughout the Commonwealth.  He is co-author of the Legal Handbook for Virginia School Administrators and author of VASSP’s annual General Assembly Update in addition to providing workshops and institutes on legal issues from an educational perspective.

Roger has been connected to VASSP since 1979 and has served as federal relations director, regional director, and president.  He has represented the National Association of Secondary School Principals on the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education Board of Examiners.

Ms. Elizabeth (Bet) Neale

University of Richmond,  B.A.

Bet had 25 years of legislative experience in the Virginia political arena prior working with VASSP from 2000 to 2021. Bet began her career  as a Legislative Research Associate at the Division of Legislative Services, Appropriations Committees.  Beginning in 1990, Bet represented VASS as their lead lobbyist for eight years, after which she served as executive director of the Henrico Education Foundation for Henrico County Public Schools.

Bet joined VASSP in 2000 as Director of Government Relations and represented the association’s members during all General Assembly sessions and at meetings of legislative education committees and subcommittees as well as at meetings of the State Board of Education. She has been a guest lecturer at the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia as well as a presenter at various state meetings and seminars. She retired in June 2021.