December 18, 2017 Published in Editorials

Welcome Home And Best Wishes, Dr. Hutchings Editorial

Dr. Gregory Hutchings, recently appointed the new superintendent of Alexandria City Public Schools and scheduled to start in July of 2018, brings expertise, experience and enthusiasm with him in his return to his home town. A 1995 T.C. Williams graduate and recipient of an award from the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria, Dr. Hutchings has received accolades and prestigious awards throughout his educational career in Prince William County, Nashville, Tennessee, and as superintendent of the Shaker Heights City School District near Cleveland. In an op ed piece written in Cleveland last year, Dr. Hutchings exhibited his passion for providing high standards of excellence in the delivery of education to all children “regardless of race, socioeconomic status, life experiences, or zip code” and writing that an opportunity to become a productive citizen through a high quality educational experience is a basic civil right.    

Certainly, returning the focus to classroom learning and student performance, high quality teaching, and providing the tools necessary for student success after graduation is overdue.  Student learning in the classroom and hiring the quality teachers critical to that endeavor, particularly when the nation is facing a teacher deficit, should always be the highest priority of a school system. We welcome that perspective and hope that this renewed emphasis will help with the “on again, off again, almost” accreditation of our various schools.

Dr. Hutchings’ biggest challenge will be working with a nine member School Board whose emphasis has been the expansion of the ACPS physical plant with little regard for quality immediate or long range infrastructure planning and almost no regard for the fiscal constraints facing the City and its taxpayers. Bells and whistles buildings are indeed nice but one need only look to some of the most successful urban charter schools located in distressed neighborhoods to know that the building is not what makes for a great education – the person at the front of the classroom is. We extend our congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Hutchings as he begins his work on behalf of all of Alexandria’s public school children.

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