Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced he will leave his position after the end of the next school year.
Brabrand will stay on through 2022, when his contract ends. He plans to help with the search for a new superintendent, which will begin immediately, the school district said in a press release Thursday.
"I’ve loved every minute of it, but after 30 years, it’s time to move on," Brabrand told News4 via a video call.
As superintendent, Brabrand oversaw a contentious overhaul of the admissions process at the elite Thomas Jefferson High School and faced scrutiny over proposals to begin the 2020-2021 school year virtually due to COVID-19.
Brabrand said the move has nothing to do with the public pressure he faced during the pandemic.
"There was no one right way. No matter which decision you would make, you had critics on any side. Sometimes, honestly, it’s easy to look back and say you could’ve and you should’ve done this," Brabrand said.
Brabrand said one of his achievements was hiring the school system’s first chief equity officer.
"I’m proud of the work we did with equity. We began to make changes to our school discipline policies that had disproportionate impacts on many of our kids," he said.
His time as superintendent was recently filled with challenges, including a rocky transition to online learning, continued pressure to reopen schools, teachers threatening to leave if forced to return and an enrollment that dropped nearly 5% last year.
An online petition calling for his removal got more than 9,000 signatures. Brabrand’s decision to keep schools virtual last fall was a source of many complaints.
"I don’t regret that at all. If COVID had had an impact worse on kids, in terms of hospitalization and death, than what it ended up being, then I would’ve been responsible for that," he said.
Brabrand says he’s not sure what his next career move is, but he looks forward to seeing students back in person. Next fall, Fairfax County schools will reopen full-time.
Brabrand was named FCPS superintendent in 2017. He started his teaching career in 1994 as an FCPS social studies teacher.
Stay with News4 for more on this developing story