Search for New Permanent APS Superintendent

The School Board is conducting a nationwide search for a new superintendent who can build on the division’s positive culture of learning and promote excellence and equity for all students. In December 2019, the School Board selected BWP & Associates (BWP), an executive search firm specializing in the recruitment of superintendents, to assist with the national search. Community engagement is an important part of the search and is being used to inform the recruitment and hiring process.  

Read the vacancy announcement and learn more about the application process

Community Engagement Process

In January 2020, the School Board worked with BWP to gather input from the community on the qualities they would like to see in the new leader. At the School Board meeting on Feb. 6, 2020, BWP presented a Community Engagement Report summarizing the process, which included an online survey, community forums and focus groups.

Online Survey, January 21-February 2, 2020

The survey is now closed. A survey was available from Jan. 21-Feb 2, 2020, to gather input on the characteristics the community would like to see in the new Superintendent. Results were presented on February 6 at the School Board meeting as part of a Community Engagement Report provided by BWP, available here.

English | Español | Amharic | Arabic |

Open Community Forums, January 22 and 25, 2020

BWP engaged with students, staff, families and community members to gather input on the qualities sought in the new superintendent and develop an in-depth leadership profile for the position. On Jan. 8, 2020, School Board Chair Tannia Talento shared a letter with the APS community about the Community Forums. The letter is available here: English | Espanol | Amharic | Arabic | Mongolian

The School Board invited all members of the community to participate. Meetings were held:

  • Wednesday, January 22 at 7 p.m. (Spanish)Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, Black Box Theater
  • Wednesday, January 22 at 7 p.m., Washington-Liberty High School, 1301 N. Stafford Street, Cafeteria
  • Saturday, January 25 at 10 a.m., Wakefield High School, 1325 S. Dinwiddie Street, Cafeteria
  • Saturday January 25 at 10 a.m., Dorothy Hamm Middle School, 4100 Vacation Lane, Cafeteria

Focus Groups, Week of January 20, 2020

Focus groups were also conducted with staff, students, parents, and community groups the week of January 20.  View the Full Schedule Here.


The following timeline will be updated throughout the process to keep you informed.

July 2019
  • Appointment of Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson
  • Develop Request for Proposal (RFP) for executive search firms
August 2019
  • Finalize and issue the RFP for an executive search firm (Mid-August)
  • RFP issued on the APS Procurement web page on Monday, August 19
September/October 2019
  • RFP re-issued on the the APS Procurement web page on Monday, September 23
  • Search firm proposals due on Friday, October 11
  • Review search firm proposals
November 2019
  • In-person interviews conducted with short list of executive search firm candidates
  • Notice of Intent to Award posted on November 26
December 2019
January 2020
  • Advertising and active recruitment
  • January 8: Community engagement schedule announced
  • January 21-February 2: Online surveys posted to APS Engage website to receive input
  • January 22-25: Consultants hold Community Forums (open) & Focus Groups Meetings (by invitation) to receive input. Full schedule here.
  • January 22, 7:00-8:30 PM Open Community Forums:
    • Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carlin Springs Road
    • Washington-Liberty High School, 1301 N. Stafford St.
  • January 25, 10:00-11:30 AM Open Community Forums:
    • Wakefield High School, 1325 S. Dinwiddie Street
    • Dorothy Hamm Middle School, 4100 Vacation Lane
February 2020
March 2020
  • Advertising and active recruitment
  • March 10: Applications due to consultants
April/May 2020
  • Candidate review and selection


Leadership Profile (2/20/20)

BWP Community Engagement Report (2/6/20)

Survey Press Release (1/21/20)

Superintendent Search Student Announcement (Spanish & English) (1/15/20)

Letter to Students for Superintendent Search (1/13/20)

Student Flyer – Superintendent Search (1/13/20)

Stakeholder Focus Groups Schedule (1/10/20)

Superintendent Search Flyer (1/10/20)

Community Engagement Press Release (1/8/20)

Superintendent Job Opening Announcement (12/19/19)

Signed Contract with Executive Search Firm, BWP & Associates (12/10/19)

Request for Proposal for Executive Search Firm to Aid with National Search (Updated) (9/23/19)

Request for Proposal for Executive Search Firm to Aid with National Search (8/19/19)

Interim Superintendent Appointment Announcement (7/30/19)

School Board Chair Update on Search Process (7/1/19)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the status update on the search for a new superintendent?  (posted 3/27/20)

The search for a new superintendent continues on the previously announced schedule. The Board has received applications for the vacancy and will be conducting interviews over the next several weeks. Once a candidate is selected, the Board will negotiate a contract, and hopes to make an appointment in May.

What is the process for selecting a new permanent superintendent?

The School Board is approaching the search in phases to address immediate needs and long-term priorities. The first phase was to identify an interim leader to provide continuity and leadership in the 2019-20 school year as we execute the search for a permanent superintendent. Cintia Johnson was named interim superintendent on July 30, 2019.

On December 10, 2019, the School Board selected BWP & Associates to assist with the search process. The process will include national advertising and recruitment, community meetings and surveys to gather input on qualities sought in the next leader, and School Board interviews and selection.

Why was the RFP for an executive search firm reissued?

The Board issued the RFP to hire a search firm on August 19, with proposals due on September 9, and we received three proposals. Unfortunately, all three proposals were considered non-responsive. Therefore, we reissued the RFP on Monday, September 23. BWP & Associates was hired in December as a result of the RFP process.

How will you solicit feedback from the community and how can I get involved?

Hearing from all stakeholders about the leadership characteristics they value most is a critical part of the search process. In January 2020, BWP consultants facilitated focus group sessions and community forums to gather input from the community. BWP also conducted a survey to gather input and presented all findings in a Community Engagement Report.

How will my input be used? 

Stakeholder input will be used to inform the School Board’s selection of a new leader who meets the needs of the Arlington school community and, most importantly, the needs of students. Input helped shape the development of an in-depth profile for the position to inform the recruitment and selection process.

When do you expect to have a new permanent superintendent in place? 

Virginia law requires that the division superintendent shall be appointed by the school board within 180 days after a vacancy occurs and allows for one request for an extension. An extension was granted to allow the time necessary to find a highly qualified leader whose experience, values and background meets the needs of our school community. We anticipate hiring a new leader in Spring 2020.

Will the community be involved in the interview and hiring process?

Community input is being used to inform the recruitment and hiring process, which will be conducted by the School Board in consultation with BWP. The leadership profile for the position is based on the feedback gathered from APS staff, students, families, and community partners and will be used during the candidate screening and interview process. The interview process will be a closed process in order to ensure the broadest pool of highly qualified candidates possible.

Comments or questions? Please submit a comment through the Engage online comment form or write to

Please be aware that correspondence through email is subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This means that your correspondence may be made public if (1) it deals with APS business, and (2) someone requests it – even if you have asked that your message be kept confidential. Only a few topics are exempt from the Virginia disclosure requirements such as communications about identifiable students and personnel information about individual employees.