Benjamin Diggs always knew that school would be the canvas of his career.
As a child, he dreamed of being an educator.
As a brother, he spent childhood days playing “school” with his sister – and they both grew up to become teachers.
As a high-school student, Diggs’ senior superlatives identified him as most likely to become a teacher or principal.
And he did.
Diggs, who began his career as a teacher, has been an assistant principal at Stafford High School since 2020. Earlier this school year, he was chosen as the 2023 Outstanding Secondary School Assistant Principal of Virginia.
“My students are my life,” Diggs said. “This honor is truly a reflection of the hard work they put in every single day. I am also proud to be surrounded and supported by other incredible leaders who share the same goals – to make life better for our students.”
The Principal Awards Committee, a panel of Virginia school leaders tasked to represent the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, chose Diggs for the honor.
The association seeks to recognize exemplary performance among middle and high school assistant principals in the state, said its executive director, Randy Barrack. “It’s exciting when we can identify and showcase administrators like Ben Diggs in school administration.”
A longtime Stafford resident, Diggs lives in White Oak with his husband, Deuntay Diggs – a well-known lieutenant with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.
Benjamin Diggs first came to Stafford as a child, moving with his family from Rhode Island in 1996. He attended Hampton Oaks Elementary School starting in the third grade, then H.H. Poole Middle School and finally North Stafford High School, where he graduated in 2006.
“I had incredible educators all throughout my childhood, a majority of them from Stafford County Public Schools,” said Diggs, who will be formally recognized in June at the Virginia Middle and High School Principals Conference & Exposition and in July at the 2023 National Principals Conference.
At the start of his career, Diggs taught business, but more recently served as an instructional technology resource teacher and department chair at North Stafford.
As an assistant principal, Diggs brings enthusiasm, reliability and professionalism to the job, as well as boundless energy and a work ethic that comes from his belief: “Whatever it takes…you do the hard work.”
Stafford Schools Superintendent Thomas Taylor said the school system is proud of Diggs.
“Mr. Diggs embodies the spirit of our learning community,” Taylor added. “He is an exceptional leader, strong administrator and sincere role model for students and staff. In addition to supporting others, he continually seeks personal growth opportunities in our school system."
For Diggs, who enjoys interacting with students, education is all about building relationships and helping others be the best version of themselves. He wants his students – more than 2,200 at Stafford High – to care about others and improve the community.
Diggs said it’s his honor to serve and help them, and if he could give his students life advice, he’d tell them to “never stop learning” and “always show others love.”
“My students always hear on my morning announcements, ‘If no one has told you today, let me be the first one to tell you: I love you; we love you at Stafford High School.’ That line means so much to me,” he said. “It’s a philosophy. I truly love my students and want the best for them. I hope that they will show the same love and compassion as adults in all that they do and accomplish.”
Outside of school, Diggs’ interests and hobbies include cooking, trying new foods, traveling and new experiences.
“I absolutely love amusement parks and riding roller coasters,” he said. “I love thrills and taking in the world around me.”
He also often spends time in the community with Deuntay, who is running for the George Washington District supervisor seat and whose claim to fame stems from viral social-media videos of his dancing to music by Beyonce. The couple has been together for more than 13 years and married in 2017.
Diggs’ job as an assistant principal has also included an unexpected role as a bus driver.
He earned his commercial driver’s license as a transit bus driver while a student at Virginia Tech and worked for Blacksburg Transit. It came in handy when he once filled in for a school bus driver who became ill, taking over the route to drive 66 elementary school students home. Other times, he has volunteered to drive the bus for school field trips, after-school needs and special events.
And the best is yet to come.
“The best part of my role as an assistant principal,” Diggs said, “is seeing how much students grow into the amazing young adults they will become over a four-year period.”
Tracy Bell is a freelancer who lives in Stafford County. This story originally appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of Stafford Magazine.
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