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Fairfax Co. selects new superintendent

Karen Garza (Courtesy Fairfax County School Board)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Fairfax County has gone to Texas to find its new school superintendent.

The Fairfax County School Board has chosen Lubbock, Texas, superintendent Karen Garza to take over Virginia’s largest school district.

Before taking the head job in Lubbock, Garza was the chief academic officer and one of the top administrators for the Houston School District, the seventh largest district in the country.

A visit to Lubbock and contract negotiations are needed before Garza’s selection would be finalized, the school board said in a news release.

Garza will replace Jack Dale, who announced a year ago he was leaving the job.

“She comes to us with a deep commitment to openness and engagement and is eager to work collaboratively in the best interest of all students. The Board looks forward with great excitement to working with Dr. Garza as it builds upon past successes and moves forward in a new era for FCPS,” said Ilryong Moon, board chair, in a written statement.

The board chose Garza as its preferred candidate April 6 and her selection is just the first step in the final phase of the district’s year-long superintendent search.

The board expects to formally hire Garza during an open board meeting later this month. She would start her new job July 1.

Her career as an educator began as an elementary school teacher in 1986. Under Garza’s leadership, Lubbock schools have reduced the achievement gap and increased graduation rates. She has emphasized increasing the academic rigor of the district’s classes and engaging the community and family to support students.

The school board noted that during Garza’s time in Houston, the district became “one of the highest performing urban school systems in the country.”

The board interviewed six potential candidates, gleaned from 47 applicants. A stakeholder committee of parents, students and staff also interviewed several semi-finalists.

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