FCPS

Fairfax County School Board Approves New Superintendent

Students had asked for more involvement in the selection before the board voted in favor of naming Dr. Michelle Reid the new superintendent

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The Fairfax County School Board named Dr. Michelle Reid as the new superintendent Thursday night.

FCPS had two finalists to replace Superintendent Scott Brabrand. Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan withdrew from consideration earlier this month after the county NAACP raised concerns about her and the second finalist, Dr. Michelle Reid. Reid heads a 20,000-student school system in the suburbs of Seattle. 

“I’m grateful to have this opportunity and I’m thrilled to serve this community and earn the trust of each of you on the board,” Reid said. “I have listened carefully and will be thoughtful and reflective about everything I’ve heard.”

Reid was named the 2020-2021 AASA National Superintendent of the Year and spoke during a conference in November.

"Every profession goes through K-12 education. Every other profession in this country comes through us. We have the opportunity and the awesome responsibility to shape the future."

The school board's 9-3 vote to approve Reid came after students at several high schools walked out of class in protest, calling for more involvement in the selection process. 

Some students from McLean High School left class today to protest the recent superintendent selection process. This comes as the school board could vote Thursday night to select a new superintendent.

"Dr. Reid shall not lead!" dozens of student protesters shouted Thursday.

"The only town hall with just students was an 11-student panel with predecided questions, and 11 students cannot represent the 180,000 kids that go to FCPS," student Saehee Perez said.

Nearly 400 students signed a letter to the school board asking for more student outreach in the final stages of the superintendent search. 

“As the leader of our county’s school system, the Superintendent has an immense impact on virtually every aspect of the day-to-day lives of students, including mental health services, academic opportunities, and equity initiatives,” the students said. “Given this impact, it is imperative that student concerns are heard, addressed, and prioritized during the Superintendent search process.”

The students also asked for “clear indications that the Superintendent was chosen for demonstrating success in key areas, including community outreach, closing achievement and opportunity gaps, mental health access for all students, and equitable school experiences for vulnerable student populations, such as neurodivergent, people of color, LGBTQIA+, and English language learner students.”

Reid's current school system is majority white and its overall size is a fraction of FCPS.

District demographic data shows Fairfax County has more than twice as many English language learners than Northshore School District, where Reid is superintendent.

Two board members, Karen Keys-Gamarra and Dr. Ricardy Anderson, motioned to delay Reid’s appointment, asking for more time to hear students’ concerns. That motion failed.

“The people who are reaching out to us are our community members,” Keys-Gamarra said. “They are our constituents. It is our job to hear them.”

Reid will start July 1 and serve until 2026.

News4's Aimee Cho spoke with Scott Brabrand about why he's leaving and what's next.

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.

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