Loudoun Superintendent Scott Ziegler fired

The Loudoun County School Board voted unanimously during a closed session to fire Superintendent Scott Ziegler, effective immediately, one day after a special grand jury report criticized the school system’s response to two in-school sexual assaults by the same student in 2021.

Wayde Byard, a spokesman for the school system, confirmed the results of the vote, which came after a two-hour meeting behind closed doors.

At the same time the school board was considering the report from the special grand jury that had been empaneled by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall called for Ziegler’s termination.

“Let me say this as clearly as possible: Dr. Ziegler needs to be fired,” said Randall. “I’m saying to my colleagues on the school board, ‘Fire the superintendent.”

The special grand jury report said the school system “failed at every juncture” and that administrators missed multiple chances to prevent a second assault from happening.

The grand jury issued no indictments in its report, which was unsealed Monday, and said there was no “coordinated cover-up” between the school system and members of the school board. Miyares told WTOP the grand jury is still sitting and “is considering all options.”

Miyares issued this statement Wednesday: “The Special Grand Jury’s report contains important recommendations and information. I’m glad to see that the school board is taking the report seriously, and hope it results in positive change for the LCPS community.”

Randall said Ziegler, who was interim superintendent at the time, bears responsibilities for both his actions and inaction.

“We had a young woman violently raped, and another one assaulted,” Randall said. “This was, for all intents and purposes, on his part, a cover-up.”

Randall said he believes the two victims will continue to feel the effects of the attacks later in their lives.

“As these young ladies receive therapy that they will probably need for years, somebody should be covering their costs for them,” said Randall, who is by profession a mental health therapist, with a focus on substance dependence.

The special grand jury’s report said “adherence to operating in silos” by school administrators and “a breakdown of communication” that included the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Court Services Unit and Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, led to the second assault in October 2021 at Broad Run High School. It happened after multiple people, including the assailant’s own mother and grandmother, warned law enforcement about the then 15-year-old boy.

Randall focused on the victims: “What happened to them is a tragedy. They were failed at multiple levels, and if it can happen to them, it can happen to other people as well.”

According to a source familiar with the firing, since he was terminated without cause, Ziegler’s contract dictates he will be paid his $323,000 annual salary and compensation for the next year, in monthly installments. His compensation includes a $12,000 annual vehicle allowance, health insurance and retirement benefits.

As of Wednesday morning, Ziegler and the school board have not commented on the firing

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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