WASHINGTON — There’s now a leading candidate for Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent following the surprise resignation of Karen Garza, who left the job in December.
“I’m thrilled, I’m humbled, I’m honored to be selected as a finalist,” Dr. Scott Brabrand said Thursday, shortly after his candidacy was announced.
If approved by the Fairfax County Board of Education that votes June 8, Brabrand will begin a four-year term on July 10.
Brabrand is currently superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools in Lynchburg, Virginia. He began his career locally.
“I fell in love with Fairfax County Public Schools 25 years ago,” Brabrand said of becoming a volunteer in the Adopt-a-School program. As a young executive, Brabrand said, he spent an hour a week in a high school getting to know and love the kids, teachers and school administration.
“I switched careers and became an intern at Herndon High School,” Brabrand recalled. He subsequently became a teacher, then an assistant principal, associate principal, principal at Fairfax High School and then an assistant superintendent on the leadership team.
Discussing some of his plans, intentions and philosophies, Brabrand said he believes all the issues going on in the country and world are best solved by public education.
- On a recent study finding that FCPS is less likely to hire black teachers than white teachers when each has similar qualifications: Brabrand said teachers across the country need to know FCPS wants diverse employees. “We need to articulate that clearly and let folks know that this is an inclusive school system,” Brabrand said.
- On getting more money for schools from Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors: Brabrand thinks additional collaboration should happen between the superintendent, the county board and the county administrator. “I think we can work to find additional areas for collaboration and for efficiencies that we haven’t found, and maybe find new ways to tap revenues that we haven’t looked at,” he said.
- On employee input on policy: Brabrand said that’s already included in his 100-day entry plan. “Part of that is listening to teachers and school-based administration and others in the system — all of our stakeholders internally and externally,” Brabrand said. He wants to identify areas where people think FCPS has fallen short and hear ideas for how to best move forward.
- On teacher workloads: Brabrand said it’s important to listen to the voices of teachers in the classroom. “They’re asked to do more and more, and we have to make sure we’re really prioritizing the work that we’re asking them to do,” he said. Part of developing success, Brabrand said, is identifying what works and finding teachers who balance professional demands with personal satisfaction. “What does that [success] look like in the classroom? What does that look like in a school?” Brabrand asked rhetorically. “Then, making sure we’re creating those conditions in every Fairfax County school.”
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