Wanted: a superintendent for the 10th largest school division in the U.S.
Desired traits include, but are not limited to, effective communication skills, experience interacting with diverse communities, a willingness to listen without being swayed by the loudest critics, and the ability to find creative solutions to existing problems while also planning for the future of education — one that is, hopefully, post-pandemic.
Finding someone with all those qualities, as well as the educational and professional qualifications needed to lead a school system with 178,227 students and nearly 25,000 full-time employees, would be challenging in ordinary times.
With current Superintendent Scott Brabrand set to depart on June 30, the Fairfax County School Board has been tasked with hiring a new leader at a time of heightened political tensions over public education, when school board meetings can devolve into arrests and gun threats and classroom lessons are subject to legislation, tip lines, and book bans.
Fairfax County Public Schools is far from the only place looking for a new superintendent, according to Gary Ray, president of GR Recruiting, the human resources firm hired to conduct the nationwide search for Brabrand’s successor.
“I’ve been doing this for nearly 40 years, and this is the most, the very most vacancies that I’ve ever seen,” Ray told the school board at a work session yesterday (Monday). “…This certainly will not only be a challenge for us and the board. It’s a challenge for a lot of districts out there.”
After spending December and January gathering staff and community input, GR Recruiting will move into a new phase of the search process with plans to start advertising the superintendent position this week.
The job posting and a more detailed candidate profile are being developed based on feedback from the school board and the public, which had the opportunity to weigh in through an online survey, virtual town hall meetings, and stakeholder meetings.
According to GR Recruiting’s presentation, the survey, which was open from Jan. 4-18, drew 9,523 responses, 57% of them from parents and guardians of current FCPS students. The six town hall meetings held on Jan. 12, 13, and 18 drew 337 participants.
Dr. Gloria Davis from GR Recruiting reported that the firm also met with 45 different stakeholder groups that represented staff, community members, and FCPS leadership.
Participants consistently cited effective and timely communication as a priority for the new superintendent, along with transparency, decisiveness, good listening skills, and an appreciation of the county’s diversity.
The need to put students first and address disparity in access to different academic programs were also recurring themes, according to Davis.
“It was expressed that, in light of the many challenges that Fairfax County faces as well as school divisions across the country, they want a superintendent who is brave and courageous,” Davis said. “Those were the exact words used often.”
Several school board members expressed concern about the relatively low survey response rate. GR Recruiting said it sent invitations to the survey to 225,761 parents, students, and staff.
While they floated the idea of resending the survey, the board ultimately seemed to agree that it might not be worthwhile, given the tight timeline for the search.
According to Davis, the deadline for candidates to apply for the job will be March 4. GR Recruiting will then review the applications and present a slate of candidates to the school board on March 17.
The candidates will be narrowed down with two rounds of interviews in late March, the second of which will include a panel of community members appointed by the school board. The new superintendent is expected to be announced in the first or second week of April.
“I don’t know why we didn’t get more involvement [in the survey], so I’m not really sure if reopening it would garner more results at this point and taking into consideration we’re bumping up against these tight timelines,” said school board chair Stella Pekarsky, who represents Sully District. “I am feeling the pressure to go ahead with advertising this.”
In the year 2030, travelers on The One — the dedicated bus service planned for the Richmond Highway (Route 1) corridor — will be able to wait for their next…
Local organizations are exploring the possibility of creating a new icon for Reston. The icon would serve as a local, visible symbol that would be memorialized in sculptures across the…
Less than two years after overhauling its plan for the West Falls Church Metro station area in Idylwood to allow more development, Fairfax County needs to make a relatively limited…
Professional development right in Tysons Corner Effective leaders — across all disciplines and levels — are crucial to the success of any organization and it is mission critical to invest…
Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3-7.
Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.
Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.
EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.
The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.
Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.
McLean Volunteer Fire Department-Inova Blood Drive
MVFD has teamed up with Inova Blood Donor Services for a blood drive on Friday, March 31, in our lower parking lot at 1455 Laughlin Avenue. The blood drive will run from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 pm. Please consider making
Van Metre 5K Run
Calling all serious runners, occasional joggers, and weekend walkers of all levels! Participate in the 31st Annual Van Metre 5K Run supporting Children’s National Hospital–the event that goes a long way!
Date: Saturday, April 29, 2023