Fairfax school officials hope to select a new principal for McLean High School by the time school opens September 6.
“My goal is to have someone here for the first day of school,” Marty Smith, the assistant superintendent who oversees McLean schools, told 15 parents, students and residents who gathered in the high school auditorium Thursday for an explanation of the principal selection process.
Earlier this month, popular McLean High School Principal Deborah Jackson was promoted within Fairfax County Public Schools, accepting a new position as a special project administrator and leaving a vacancy at the top of one of the most sought-after schools in the county.
Paul Jones, a retired assistant principal from McLean High School, will serve as acting principal during the principal search.
“We know we have to have someone who can fit those very large shoes” left by Dr. Jackson, Smith told the group that included McLean PTSA president Loretta D'Ermes. “We want to pick up where Dr. Jackson left off and go forward,” Smith said.
5 things to know about the principal selection process:
1. Goal: to select the most talented and knowledgeable leader who is the best match for McLean High School.
2. Smith urged parents, students and residents to tell school officials the skills and leadership characteristics they want in a new principal and the major issues and challenges the new principal faces. Send that information by July 20 to email@example.com.
3. Parents, students and residents can apply to make up a panel of nine people who will interview all candidates cleared as qualified for the position by the schools human resources office.
The panel will interview 5-8 candidates at school headquarters Aug. 2. The panel recommends three candidates. D'Ermes sent out an invitation Friday to parents explaining how to apply for the panel.*
4. Smith then interviews the top candidates selected by the panel. He will make a recommendation to Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Jack Dale. Dale interviews the final candidate and a selection is made.
5. Smith said he will share that selection with the three school board members whose students attend McLean and the three at-large members. If all the school board members sign off, then a formal offer is made.
The selection process usually takes six weeks from the date of Thursday's meeting, said Smith, who is a former principal of Franklin Sherman Elementary in McLean.
"I think the process is very fair and thorough," D'Ermes said. "I think Dr. Jackson will be a hard act to follow. I hope the community takes advantage of the opportunity to provide their input" to school officials about their thoughts for a new principal.
McLean High At a Glance:
Asian 21.3 percent
Black Not Hispanic 3.4 percent
White Not Hispanic 60.1 percent
Hispanic 10.6 percent
Other 4.5 percent
School staff Nearly 200 administrators, teachers, security guards, custodians, counselors, etc
* Volunteers Needed for Principal Selection Panel
Are you interested in serving on the Principal Selection Panel? The panel will be meet on Thursday, Aug. 2 at Gatehouse Administrative Center. If you submit your name as a candidate, you must confirm that you are available for the entire day (7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.).
Representatives should be people who are committed to the principal selection process and the future of McLean High School. The panel members will represent the diversity of the school and students by age, programs in which they are involved, etc.
If you would like to be considered for this role, please send an email to Loretta D'Ermes (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a subject line: Principal Selection Panel. Your email should include the ages/grades of your McLean students, the activities and/or programs in which they are involved and any other information you would like to be considered.
Emails must be received no later than Thursday, July 19 at 8 p.m.