Virginia Beach schools superintendent chosen to lead Loudoun Co. schools

Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia has hired Aaron Spence, superintendent of Virginia Beach Public Schools, to be the school system’s next superintendent.

Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia has hired Aaron Spence, superintendent of Virginia Beach Public Schools, to be the school system’s next superintendent.

The school board voted 6-2 to approve Spence’s candidacy.

Spence takes over for Daniel Smith, who was appointed interim superintendent in December. Smith had previously served as the school system’s chief of staff. Spence has led Virginia Beach schools since 2014.

Loudoun County Public Schools, a Northern Virginia division with about 83,000 students, has been mired in controversy and scrutinized for the way it handled two in-school sexual assaults by the same student on different school campuses in 2021.

After getting elected, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order calling for a review of how Loudoun County handled the assaults. Attorney General Jason Miyares impaneled a special grand jury.

Former Superintendent Scott Ziegler was fired in December, a day after a special grand jury criticized the school system’s response to the assaults. He was then indicted, and is facing charges of misdemeanor false publication, misdemeanor prohibited conduct and misdemeanor penalizing an employee for a court appearance.

School spokesman Wayde Byard was indicted on a count of felony perjury.

Earlier this week, a judge ruled that the school system has to release its investigation into the sexual assaults. The school board previously declined to do so, citing attorney-client privilege.

Loudoun County hired a firm to lead its search for a new superintendent in February. A survey of parents, students and community members resulted in more than 4,000 responses, indicating that many viewed school safety, staff retention and a focus on academics as among the most critical issues.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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