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In Fairfax, new principal selected for Poe Middle School in Annandale

A new principal has been appointed to Annandale’s Poe Middle School, six months after the previous principal was arrested on charges of embezzling school funds.

Maria Eck will join the Poe faculty on July 1 to replace Sonya Swansbrough, who was arrested in November. Swansbrough has been placed on administrative leave without pay.

Eck, who currently serves as principal of McNair Elementary, began her career in Miami-Dade County public schools in Florida as an elementary teacher focusing on reading and English as a second language. After serving as an assistant principal in Florida, Eck moved to Fairfax County in 2005, later becoming assistant principal at Glasgow Middle School.

In 2008, she became principal at McNair, where she has promoted science, technology, engineering and math programs that include robotics and Lego competitions. Under Eck’s leadership, McNair earned recognition from the Virginia Department of Education for academic excellence.

Swansbrough and her one-time finance clerk, Bethany Speed, were arrested in November in an alleged scheme to steal school funds, including federal grant money, for personal gain. Police said at least $130,000 in schools funds was stolen. Swansbrough is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing in Fairfax on July 28.

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.

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