Loudoun County's new superintendent Dr. Eric Williams will take charge of Virginia's third largest school district this summer.
News4 interviewed him shortly after it was announced he would replace Dr. Edgar Hatrick III, who is retiring after 23 years as LCPS superintendent.
"First order of business, on day one, and really in the coming year, is getting to know this community," Dr. Williams told News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Reporter David Culver.
The school board chose Dr. Williams out of approximately 60 candidates.
For the past six years, Dr. Williams has been superintendent of the York County School Division in southeastern Virginia. The school division consists of approximately 12,500 students and operates with a budget of roughly $125 million.
Prior to that, Dr. Williams worked as assistant superintendent in Collier County, Fla. with approximately 40,000 students.
Both school districts are much smaller than Loudoun County, which has more than 70,000 students and operates a budget close to $1 billion.
"I think my experience in a medium size district, like Collier County, combined with my Virginia-specific experience, that's a good combination," Dr. Williams said.
The county's schools are facing a $38 million budget shortfall. Four small schools could be shuttered, and freshmen sports programs as well as some extra curricular bus routes are being threatened.
Dr. Williams said he's familiar with tight spending.
"I had led our school division through, really the toughest financial times that it had faced in decades," Dr. Williams said.
Among possible changes he's hoping to push is keeping test scores high without teaching to the test.
"Teachers didn't go into teaching to, 'Hey, let me get kids ready for a Scantron test or just the state test at the end of the year,'" he said.
He still thinks about his daughter's advice to him when he took the York County position back in 2008.
"She said, 'Dad, don't mess it up.' And I laugh about that because clearly not messing it up is not a high enough goal. So what I'm attracted to is coming into a school division that's already high-performing, and both sustaining that tradition of excellence, but also building on that tradition of excellence," Dr. Williams said.
He officially becomes superintendent in July.