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Virginia’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday runs Aug. 1-3

Families in Virginia will receive a break from sales tax on their back-to-school shopping this weekend as the state holds its annual tax holiday.

School supplies priced at $20 or less will not be subject to sales tax this weekend, including calculators, notebooks, paper, lunch boxes, art and music supplies, pens, pencils and more

Certain clothing and footwear costing $100 or less will also be eligible for the tax break. While sports jerseys and uniforms are eligible, athletic cleats, shoulder pads, shin guards and other sports-specific equipment are not included in the tax break.

More information about the tax holiday, including a complete list of eligible school supplies and clothing items, can be found online at

FCPS administrator tapped for state SOL reform committee

Kim Dockery, Chief Academic Officer for the Fairfax County school system, has been named to the state’s standardized testing reform committee.

The General Assembly passed legislation in March that reduced the number of required SOL tests for elementary school students from 22 to 17. The new law also called for establishment of the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee to guide continued testing reform.

Dockery joined the committee in time for its first meeting in Richmond on July 15. In the initial announcement of the committee members earlier in July, no educators from the Fairfax County school system were on the committee.

The committee includes school administrators, School Board members, teachers and parents from across the state, as well as members of the General Assembly.

Fairfax County is also represented by parent Grace Chung Becker of Fairfax, with Dockery another late addition to the committee, as well as by by Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-Dist.67) and Del. Rob Krupicka (D-Dist. 45).

Garza names new assistant superintendents

Fairfax County Superintendent Karen Garza has selected two new assistant superintendents to serve in her reorganized administration.

South County principal Jane Lipp is taking over for Kim Dockery as assistant superintendent for special services. Dockery was promoted to the new position of chief academic officer in July.

Kristen Michael is moving from her role as director of budget services to take over as assistant superintendent of financial services. She succeeds Susan Quinn, who was promoted to the new role of chief operating officer.

Garza announced an administrative overhaul for the school system in May, which included three new positions - chief academic officer, chief operating officer and chief of staff. These positions will work with the deputy superintendent to serving as point persons for Garza at the top of the FCPS hierarchy.

The new structure has led to some position shuffling, creating a domino effect. The promotions of both Dockery and Quinn left holes filled by Lipp and Michael, but now their own successors must be found.

Lipp and Michael both bring extensive experience in the Fairfax County school system to their new roles.

Lipp joined FCPS as a special education teacher at Edison High School. Later, she moved into administration, including time as an assistant principal at Hayfield Secondary School and South County before becoming principal at the latter school in 2008.

Michael came to the school system in 2005 as a budget analyst before moving up to the role of budget director in 2008. Since then, she has overseen the annual development of the district’s $2.5 billion budget.