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Nationwide Search Finds New APS Superintendent in Fairfax County

Arlington Public Schools has a new superintendent.

At its meeting Thursday night, the School Board announced that it has hired Dr. Francisco Durán for the school system’s top job, following a national search. Durán comes from Fairfax County Public Schools, where he has served as Chief Academic and Equity Officer since 2015.

The announcement of Durán’s appointment follows a letter to families from interim superintendent Cintia Johnson on Monday, in which she said she decided not to apply for the permanent position.

“I have been pleased and honored to serve Arlington in the interim superintendent role during the 2019-20 school year,” Johnson said. “While I gladly accepted this challenge, it was never my intent to seek the permanent superintendent position. I look forward to the possibilities to come for our school division and will give my full support to the new superintendent.”

Durán will take over at Superintendent on June 1.

The full press release from Arlington Public Schools is below.

At tonight’s School Board meeting, the Arlington School Board named Dr. Francisco Durán as the new Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools (APS). The School Board unanimously approved the appointment following a five-month nationwide search that included 39 applicants and a strong pool of candidates. The selection was informed by community feedback collected in focus groups, community forums and an online survey.

Dr. Durán will formally assume the role of Superintendent on June 1, 2020.

Dr. Durán joins APS from Fairfax County Public Schools where he has served as Chief Academic and Equity Officer since 2015. He has a diverse background in education spanning 26 years, including top-level leadership and superintendent experience in a variety of large urban school divisions with culturally diverse populations. He has served in various roles as a teacher, director, principal, administrator and superintendent. In 2018, Dr. Durán was appointed to the Virginia State Board of Education where he played a key role in the adoption of the new Standards of Quality for Virginia.

Dr. Durán has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of New Mexico, a master’s degree in educational administration from San Francisco State University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in organization and leadership from Columbia University.

“Dr. Durán is exactly the seasoned Superintendent we need right now to lead our school division through the pandemic crisis and advance our work to support educational and personal success for all of our students,” said Board Chair Tannia Talento. “Dr. Durán perfectly fits our community leadership profile. He has clearly demonstrated a strong ability to foster a positive culture of collaboration and trust and has a proven track record in serving all students in majority-minority school systems like Arlington. His experience in leading a system under budget constraints is also of great value during these difficult economic times.”

In June, Dr. Durán will begin meeting remotely with employees, students, families and community members, including a series of online town hall meetings during which the public is invited to ask questions. Dates for those meetings will be shared soon.

“I have been fortunate to explore a career path in education that led me from the classroom to a variety of leadership roles. I believe in bringing people together to share perspectives, overcome barriers and achieve equitable outcomes for students,” said Dr. Durán. “I look forward to working closely with Arlington teachers, administrators, staff and community partners to build on the important work underway. Arlington Public Schools is an outstanding school division in a vibrant community that values public education and where I believe my experience will be of great benefit.”

Dr. Durán is a bilingual educator who began his career as a special education assistant in Albuquerque Public Schools, and he also served for five years as a middle school language arts and social studies teacher in Albuquerque and California. He went on to hold administrative and leadership positions in the San Francisco Unified School District and Philadelphia City Schools.

Prior to joining Fairfax County Public Schools in 2015, Dr. Durán was Superintendent of Trenton Public Schools in New Jersey, where he was unanimously appointed for a second five-year term. In Fairfax County, Dr. Durán’s work as an equity leader is driven by his background and commitment to support all students. He helped develop, initiate and implement the “One Fairfax” policy to close opportunity, access and achievement gaps, a joint social and racial equity policy with Fairfax County.

“Dr. Durán has led under budget constraints, refined practices to increase educational excellence, worked with the Virginia Board of Education on emerging policies and developed practices to advance equity,” said School Board Vice Chair Monique O’Grady. “I believe he will help us weather our current challenges and maximize future opportunities to benefit our students, staff and community.”

Dr. Durán will replace Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson, who has led the school division since September 1, 2019. Ms. Johnson will return to her role as Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services when Dr. Duran steps into his role on June 1, 2020, and will coordinate with him to ensure a smooth transition.

“On behalf of the School Board, I would like to thank Interim Superintendent Johnson for leading us forward in this time of crisis and for her unwavering commitment to serve our staff, students and community,” said Talento. “She has done tremendous work, maintaining a staff and student focus at the heart of every effort, and we appreciate her many contributions and continued leadership. We look forward to working with Dr. Durán to continue building a school division that enriches the education and lives of our students and our community.”

Dr. Durán’s contract is for four years and includes a base annual salary of $250,000.

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