VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia Beach City Public Schools superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence has been appointed the new superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools.
The Loudoun County School Board on Friday voted 6-2, with one member absent, to appoint Spence as that school division’s new superintendent. Spence is expected to start as Loudoun County Public Schools’ new superintendent “in the coming months.”
Dr. Daniel Smith, who had previously been a principal in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools division, will remain as acting superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools until then.
In a statement attributed to Spence that was read following the vote, Spence said he was looking forward to his tenure as Loudoun County Public Schools’ superintendent.
“I am excited to meet with students, parents, staff and community members as I learn more about their hopes and aspirations for the school division,” Spence said. “I am honored to serve as your superintendent and look forward to building upon the already solid foundation of academic excellence in Loudoun County Public Schools. It will be my goal from day one to ensure we are leading together to build trust, create even greater transparency for our community around the outstanding work of our school division, recruit and retain a world-class team of educators, and leverage the power of relationships with families and stakeholders to strengthen us.”
Multiple sources had earlier confirmed to 10 On Your Side reporter Brett Hall that Spence was in line to be appointed Loudoun County Public Schools’ new superintendent.
“Loudoun County is incredibly lucky to have such a visionary, dynamic, caring and thoughtful educational leader at the helm,” said Virginia Beach City Public Schools School Board chairwoman Trenace Riggs. “Knowing what he has accomplished in his nearly decade-long tenure in VBCPS, I have no doubt that he will do great things for the students, families and staff in Loudoun. In my opinion, he is truly a bridgebuilder and is the best superintendent VBCPS has ever had; he will be truly missed.”
In a letter to the community announcing his departure from Virginia Beach, Spence said there is much to be proud of with Virginia Beach City Public Schools and said it was bittersweet to say that he is moving on.
“Although the decision to leave VBCPS was a difficult one, I will depart knowing that, as our core believes ask us to do, we have done great work together,” Spence said, touting such accomplishments as putting into place full-day kindergarten and dramatically increasing access to pre-K classrooms, opening the Environmental Studies Program at the Brock Center and the Entrepreneur and Business Academy at Kempsville High School, and passing the division’s equity policy and getting unanimous approval of the division-wide equity plan.
Spence also pointed to the expansion of career and technical education opportunities in manufacturing and renewable energy and working with the School Board to improve salary scales for staff to support recruitment and retention efforts.
Spence, who was named the Virginia Superintendent of the year in 2018 by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, has been the superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools since June 2014, leading a school division which has 86 schools and serves more than 67,000 students and has more than 10,000 employees.
Spence came to Virginia Beach after having served as the superintendent of Moore County Public Schools in North Carolina.
“Virginia Beach will always hold a special place in my heart,” Spence said in his community letter. “Not only did I graduate from Green Run High School, but three of my own kids graduated from VBCPS and my parents still live in the area. It has truly been a family affair, and I will cherish the time I spent here. I hope my legacy in Virginia Beach will be one that encourages people to uplift the importance of inclusion, belonging and high academic expectations for all students.”
His departure leaves four area school divisions in need of new superintendents – Virginia Beach, Newport News, Hampton and Gloucester County.
Loudoun County Public Schools has more than 82,000 students, 12,800 employees and 98 schools.
The Loudoun County School Board voted unanimously Dec. 6 to fire former Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler after a grand jury report was completed and released that found the Loudoun County school division had “failed at all junctures” to prevent a second sexual assault from happening in Loudoun County Public Schools.
The report looked into how LCPS, the Loudoun County School Board and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office handled two sexual assaults that happened in the school division.
Read the text of Spence’s community letter here:
Dear students, families, staff and community members,
We have so much to be proud of here in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. It has been an extraordinary experience working alongside all of you to achieve so much. I cannot tell you what it has meant to me both personally and professionally to come back and lead the school division that helped shape the person I am today and where I first realized my passion for teaching and public education. The personal connection I have to Virginia Beach is one of the many reasons I have stayed here for nearly 10 years and why I feel so gratified by everything we have accomplished together. It is also what makes it bittersweet to announce that the time has come for me to move on.
This evening, the Loudoun County Public Schools Board voted to name me their next Superintendent of Schools. In the coming months, I will transition into that position, where I plan to bring much of the knowledge and perspective I have gained leading this remarkable school division.
Although the decision to leave VBCPS was a difficult one, I will depart knowing that, as our core beliefs ask us to do, we have done great work together. Some of the accomplishments I am most proud of include helping all of our schools reach accreditation through a structured approach ensuring all students have the supports they need to thrive academically; implementing full-day Kindergarten and dramatically increasing access to pre-Kindergarten classrooms; opening the Environmental Studies Program at the Brock Center and the Entrepreneur and Business Academy at Kempsville High School; passing our division’s equity policy and getting the unanimous approval of our divisionwide equity plan; an expansion of career and technical education opportunities in areas including manufacturing and renewable energy; working with the School Board to significantly improve our salary scales for staff to support our recruitment and retention efforts; and, a significant increase in family and community engagement efforts, including focused voice groups and expanded supports for English learner families.
It also brings me joy to know that in my tenure here, we fostered and encouraged a culture of transparency and collaboration not only internally with our students and staff, but also with our families, business partners, churches and the community at large.
These and many other accomplishments are not mine alone, of course. To our senior staff, executive leadership team, principals, faculty and staff across this division, I owe you a debt of gratitude, because without you, we would not be where we are today. More than that, you are extraordinary educators and leaders, and your love for—and commitment to—the children of this city inspires me. I also want to thank the many board members I have worked with, including our current board members, who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the students, families and staff of VBCPS. To our families and care givers, thank you for your steadfast support. Without you, we cannot thrive in this work and it is our partnership that ensures our students are and will continue to be successful, well-rounded young people.
In closing, I would like to thank the entire Virginia Beach community for their ardent support. Your investment in our schools now and in the future ensures that VBCPS has been and will always be amongst the nation’s premier school divisions.
Virginia Beach will always hold a very special place in my heart. Not only did I graduate from Green Run High School, but three of my own kids graduated from VBCPS and my parents still live in the area. It has truly been a family affair, and I will cherish the time I spent here. I hope my legacy in Virginia Beach will be one that encourages people to uplift the importance of inclusion, belonging and high academic expectations for ALL students.
Thank you for allowing me the privilege of leading a school division that will have a positive impact on the children of Virginia Beach for generations to come.
Check with WAVY.com for updates.