Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced July 15 that the school year of 2021-2022 will be his last year serving the county.
Before becoming the superintendent, Brabrand was an FCPS social studies teacher, Herndon High assistant principal, associate principal at Lake Braddock Secondary School and the principal of Fairfax High. He also served as a cluster assistant superintendent. He left for five years to be the Lynchburg City Schools superintendent before returning to Fairfax in 2017 to be FCPS superintendent.
“I pledge to continue to serve with the same love and passion for FCPS that I had when I started. In the best of times and in the worst of times, I have always strived to lead with a steady hand and a full heart,” Brabrand said. The announcement about Brabrand’s time coming to a close is due to the end of his contract with the school board.
The announcement of his departure was met with mixed feedback from the community on Twitter. One userwas pleased to hear of the departure. “Two years too late,” tweeted @drobbva. “Let’s hope the equally inept @fcpsnews board selects someone from the outside that brings real leadership that can right the ship that you have flipped over.”
When asked what he was most proud of during his time as superintendent, Braband reflected on many aspects of his work. “Two years of fully funded budgets prior to the pandemic that invested record amounts in teacher compensation and technology for students is one important accomplishment,” he said. “Expanding access at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology so that every talented student with a passion for STEM has a greater opportunity to attend the school was also important. Focusing on equity also helped us create changes to school discipline that helped reduce disproportionate outcomes in suspensions for students.” The latter initiative has been more controversial and parents are suing the school district over the change.
“Not one mention of academic success … Any increase in graduation rates?” Erin O’Connor Lobato, commented on Facebook. “All equity ... fully funded budgets … that saw a record investment in culture. Now let’s find a superintendent who will prioritize academic rigor for ALL and hold him/her accountable for results. Teach ALL our children to be strong readers, writers and mathematicians…… not victims and social justice warriors who can’t function in the real world.”
Brabrand was humbled by the time he got to spend with the FCPS community over the last four years as he strove to keep students first. “I have come to work each day motivated by doing the very best for every single child that comes into the FCPS family. To me, that responsibility is a true, once-in-a-lifetime privilege,” he said. “I cannot understate the love and commitment I have for the district which has been part of my working life for 30 years. The staff I have worked with is the best in the education business and I can attest to their professionalism, dedication and talent. FCPS is a truly amazing school district, and we all play a part in making it so.”
The announcement comes as FCPS has decided to bring all students back for a five-day, in-person return to classrooms this fall. In the letter Brabrand wrote to the community, he addressed concerns about post-pandemic schooling. “We will continue to face challenges as we seek to provide a premier education to all of our students and families. Coming out of this pandemic, I believe we will build back an even better school system for our students, families, staff and community.”
Another Twitter user also was encouraged by the news of the upcoming change. “I wish you the best… I still don’t feel the system was set up properly. You should have given a choice to parents that were essential to take their kids to school during the year and now, you should have given the choice for parents to keep virtual,” tweeted @Jesm.
The process for finding a new superintendent has already begun as the school board has stated they will be working with a search firm to recruit and find potential candidates. FCPS also wants feedback from the community on superintendent candidates and will be posting frequent updates about the process on their website.
Looking to the future, Brabrand is unsure on what the future may hold. “I started working when I was 16 and worked through college at Georgetown University. I have spent 30 years in FCPS, and public education and the beauty is that now I have a full year to decide what’s next,” he said.
For more information on the superintendent selection process visit https://www.fcps.edu/node/43790.