The FCPS School Board has announced that Dr. Karen Garza is their preferred candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant Superintendent position, with plans to finalize the nomination later this month. This decision was announced on April 10, after a unanimous vote by the Board. She will be the first woman superintendent in FCPS history if she is accepted.
The Board chose Garza based on both her professional records and personal similarities to the character profile created by both FCPS administrators and the general community. Among these qualities are a “deep commitment to openness and engagement,” and eagerness to “work collaboratively in the best interest of all students,” according to Board Chairman Ilryong Moon.
Garza formally accepted the appointment shortly after the FCPS press release on April 10.
“I am humbled and very thankful to the Board and the whole FCPS community for this wonderful opportunity,” Garza said in a public statement.
In her statement, Garza went on to outline her plans for the district and her administration. Garza hopes to be accessible to the general public and intends to focus on teacher’s needs as much as the concerns of students and parents to ensure a collective well-being for the school district.
“[Fairfax County has] a track record for excellence,” she said. “Our goal is to build on that history of excellence.”
Garza has been the superintendent in the Lubbock Independent School District in Lubbock, Texas since 2009. While serving roughly 30,000 students each year, Garza closed achievement gaps, increased graduation rates and improved financial health in the distinct during her 4-year term.
Though FCPS has about six times the student enrollment, averaging 180,000 a year, Moon is confident Garza can make the transition fluidly, citing past superintendent’s histories of coming from smaller school districts.
“If you look at our current superintendent, he came from a school district, Frederick, that was about 40,000,” Moon said during the press announcement. “And his predecessor, Dr. Domenech, came from a small school district [in Suffolk County, New York]”
Garza’s appointment is the beginning of the end of a near year-long search for a new superintendent after Jack Dale’s unexpected resignation last year. She was choosen from 40 possible individuals and 19 considered candidates, each individually evaluated and interviewed by the Board earlier last month.
The Board has chosen not to disclose the identity of any of these candidates at this time.
Pending employment negotiations, the Board is expected to make a final vote to confirm Garza’s appointment at the end of the month.
Garza is expected to take over as superintendent on July 1, following Jack Dale’s formal resignation to the Board.