Garza unveils new hires in Fairfax schools leadership team

Fairfax County schools superintendent Karen Garza has announced a slew of new hires as part of her organizational shake-up of the administration that will take effect July 1.

The hires include five new “executive principals” who will serve as deputies to the assistant superintendents leading the recently created “regions” that will divide the county’s 196 schools, replacing the old eight clusters. Garza also created two new executive principals for school improvement, who will focus on student achievement in schools with lagging performance.

The new executive principals include Jay Pearson, who currently serves as principal of Marshall High School and Mark Greenfelder, principal of West Springfield High School. Other new executive principals include cluster directors Evangeline Petrich and Grace Taylor and elementary school principals Rebecca Baenig, of Cunningham Park, and Dogwood’s Terry Dade. Garza also announced an external hire: Eric Brent, principal of Prince William County’s Forest Park High School, will join Fairfax as a new executive principal.

The five regional executive principals will replace the old cluster director position. The executive principals, who include veterans such as Pearson, the recipient of awards for his leadership at Marshall, will support principals in each region as mentors and coaches.

Announcing his new job to assist in school improvement, Greenfelder wrote in a letter to parents and staff at West Springfield that he was sad to leave the school where he had graduated from in 1987.

“Though there were only a few positions that could have drawn me away from the WSHS community, this was one of them,” Greenfelder wrote. “I will have the opportunity to serve as an instructional and administrative leader in support of the principals and leadership teams of our schools, engaging with each community to ensure that instructional and curricular programs are fully implemented to continue the work of schools focused on students and their learning.”

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.
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