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NEW: McLean Community Center leader resigns, replaced temporarily

McLean Community Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) For the second time in as many years, the McLean Community Center is in need of a new executive director.

Daniel Singh resigned from the position on July 26, but the news didn’t become public until yesterday (Thursday), when Fairfax County announced that it has assigned a temporary replacement.

MCC confirmed Singh’s resignation in a statement to FFXnow. The governing board had a scheduled meeting the following day (July 27), though its standard procedures dictate that the meeting minutes and an audio recording won’t be published until the board next convenes on Sept. 7.

“Fairfax County has assigned Evan Braff an acting executive director to lead the MCC,” MCC said by email. “MCC operations and programs will continue uninterrupted. The Governing Board plans to begin a search for a new executive director in the near future.”

Set to take over on Monday (Aug. 15), Braff currently serves as countywide coordinator in the Fairfax County Office of the County Executive, but his 28-year career with the county has included some work in recreation and community services, according to the news release:

Braff currently serves as a countywide coordinator in the Office of the County Executive for Fairfax County, where he designs, manages and coordinates high impact initiatives, projects and partnerships. His career with Fairfax County spans 28 years, including service in various roles, including division supervisor of Therapeutic Recreation, Teen Services, and After-School Programs; division supervisor of Senior Centers; and Regional Services and Center Operations Region 4 manager.

During his tenure, Braff has taken significant leadership roles within local government making strong commitments to results, sustainability and collective impact. He has received numerous national, state and local awards for innovation, teamwork and exemplary leadership.

Braff graduated with a B.A. of sociology at George Mason University.  He also has Master of Science in recreation and leisure studies from the State University of New York of Cortland and a Master of Public Administration degree from George Mason University.

Singh’s resignation comes just 14 months after he was named executive director in May 2021.

His vision for the community center emphasized diversity and expanding the facility’s reach as it sought to adapt after the first year of the pandemic.

Singh oversaw the development of a new, five-year strategic plan, which got a public hearing on July 6 but hasn’t been finalized yet, and an ongoing effort to update MCC’s website. He also guided the return of in-person events like McLean Day, though not all were pulled off successfully.

However, the focus on diversifying MCC’s programming and audience — specifically, a “Drag Storybook Hour” at Dolley Madison Library — and a comment Singh made about the center’s role amid “COVID-19, racial tension, and dog whistles of white supremacy” riled up some community members.

FFXnow also heard some discontent after Singh attributed a staff shortage to his predecessor, George Sachs, at a board meeting on April 20. Sachs had served as executive director for over 10 years before retiring in May 2021.

When contacted by FFXnow, Governing Board Chair Barbara Zamora-Appel shared the same statement as MCC. No timeline has been given yet for when exactly the search for a permanent executive director will begin.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who represents the McLean area, says he wishes Singh “success in whatever he decides to do next” and expressed support for MCC’s current direction in a statement:

The McLean Community Center is a tremendous community asset. The direction and programming of the Center is determined by the MCC Governing Board acting on behalf of the McLean community. The current Governing Board and its predecessors have done a great job. As Supervisor and as a long time McLean resident, I appreciate the current programming and think it should be continued. I would also like to see a greater focus on community building activities like parades, outdoor festivals and craft shows. And I would like to see the MCC lead more joint community building efforts with the many other great organizations that serve McLean residents.

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