VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — After nearly a decade of service, the superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools is moving north.

Dr. Aaron Spence has been appointed as the new superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools.

Spence says he knows this new position comes with some challenges, but he believes he has the experience the Loudoun is looking for.

“Who wouldn’t want that job?” Spence asked. “I have to tell you as superintendent of Virginia Beach for many years, we’ve looked at Loudoun County and we’ve watched their academic excellence. We know it’s a wonderful school division. Incredible schools, wonderful community, dedicated, committed parents and really just a terrific opportunity for me on a personal, professional level.”

After nine years as superintendent, Dr. Spence is packing up his desk to take on a new challenge.

“It’s my intention from day one to build trust, begin building relationships out in the community, listening, learning from each other about what the hopes and aspirations are for our children and for our schools,” Spence said. “At the end of the day the thing that matters most is there are so many incredible things happening in Loudoun County Schools and we have to help people see that again.”

Dr. Spence joins the division amidst an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education. They’re looking into the division after concerns were raised about the way school leaders responded to reported sexual assaults at some schools.

Dr. Spence says he’s not privy to that information right now, but will be looking into it.

“My intention would be to assess that report, to understand where, if any, shortcomings were and make sure that we’ve got the processes and structures in place to address those. Make sure that any mistakes that were made we acknowledge, and make sure they don’t happen again.”

He says he’s worked really hard in Virginia Beach to find balance and provide solutions that people can agree on and plans to do the same in Loudoun County.

“At the end of the day it’s about making sure kids can thrive,” Spence said. “There isn’t anything mediocre about making sure that kids can reach their highest potential and making sure that we have the highest expectations for our work to help achieve that.”

Dr. Spence says when he started at Virginia Beach, 16 schools were not fully accredited and he’s incredibly proud of the partnerships the division has been able to build under his leadership.

He’s also proud of the effort to build a stronger communication process with families following the pandemic.

“I believe that in education we have to do what is right for students,” Spence said. “We have to make decisions that are good for them and we have to do that while supporting and working with our families.”

Dr. Spence also talked about school safety, student mental health, discipline in the classroom and the importance of transparency.

“You can not communicate enough and I think transparency is all about sharing information that you have, being willing to talk about the work that you’re doing,” Spence said. “That’s something that people have come to expect from me here and they can expect it from me up there.”

Dr. Spence says he has some contractual obligations in Virginia Beach, but hopes to be in Loudoun County by late summer.

He is supposed to give six months notice when leaving the position, which is outlined in his contract, but says the school board can waive that.

He is meeting with the board Tuesday night to finalize his last day.