APS News Release

School Board Appoints Chief Academic Officer, Chief of Staff, Langston Administrator and Director of School Climate and Culture

Additional appointments include a college and career center counselor at Wakefield High School and an assistant principal at Swanson Middle School

The School Board made several leadership appointments at the June 23 School Board meeting. Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán said, “We look forward to welcoming these talented educators to Arlington Public Schools as we continue to strengthen our leadership team and prepare for a strong start in the 2022-23 school year. These individuals bring not only years of in-depth experience working in schools, but also the leadership skills to move our school division forward in supporting the success of every Arlington student.”

Dr. Gerald R. Mann, Jr. Headshot
Dr. Gerald Mann, Jr. Appointed Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Gerald Mann, Jr. has a diverse background in education spanning 25 years, including top-level leadership and teaching experience in various school settings with culturally diverse populations.

He has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, Director of Middle Schools, and Executive Director of Secondary Instruction. Dr. Mann has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Occidental College, a master’s degree in educational administration from George Mason University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Mann began his career as a science teacher in San Francisco Unified School District and served eight years as a special education and resource teacher in Maryland and Alexandria City. He has held administrative and leadership positions and led several strategic efforts in Alexandria City Public Schools.

He is currently the Executive Director of Instructional Support in Alexandria City Public Schools, including Pre-K through Adult Education, professional learning, AVID and college readiness, Career and Technical Education (CTE), Talent and Gifted (TAG), library media and textbook services, summer school and the ACPS High School Project.

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Stephen Linkous Appointed Chief of Staff

Stephen Linkous has 27 years of educational experience, including four years of experience serving on the Superintendent’s cabinet as an Assistant Superintendent and Chief of Staff. He has served in various roles as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and school support officer.

Mr. Linkous has a bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Secondary Education from the Park University, a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Denver and has completed a Superintendent Licensure Program from Wichita State University. Mr. Linkous is a bilingual educator who began his career as a bilingual social teacher in the Denver Public Schools, and he also served for 8 years as a middle and high school English as a Second Language and social studies teacher in the Denver metropolitan area. He went on to hold administrative and leadership positions in the Houston Independent School District and Roosevelt School District # 66.

Prior to joining the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, Mr. Linkous was assistant superintendent of Principal Leadership and Development with the Roosevelt RSD # 66 Elementary District in Arizona.  He has been the Chief of Staff for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools serving as the Chief of Staff where he led work on the district’s Strategic Plan as well as leading efforts to collaboratively create a Re-Entry plan for students and staff to return to campuses during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Kimberly Jackson-Davis Appointed Administrator of the Langston HS Continuation/New Directions Alternative Program

Kimberly Jackson-Davis has a Master of Education Leadership from George Mason University has served APS students in various roles for the past 22 years. She currently serves as Assistant Principal at Washington Liberty High School, where she creates a positive climate for supporting the learning potential of all students through innovative and forward-thinking ideas that encourage and cultivate meaningful learning experiences through multiple pathways.

Ms. Jackson Davis began her APS career teaching English and social studies at New Directions to students who faced challenges in their education and social stress. Ms. Jackson-Davis fostered a collegial climate and implemented curriculum that improved students’ level of competency and comprehension, increasing their Standards of Learning writing scores by 80%.

Ms. Jackson-Davis’ also taught 9th grade English at Wakefield High School in 2004 and received her Master of Education in Professional School Counseling at George Washington University. Providing academic and social support and career awareness to students at Hoffman Boston Elementary School, Ms. Jackson-Davis continued to set high academic standards and pushed each child to realize his or her full potential.

Prior to joining APS, Ms. Jackson-Davis taught middle school language arts at Prince George’s County Public Schools serving students with a wide range of needs.

Gradis White Appointed the First APS Director of School Climate and Culture in the Office of School Support

Gradis White is joining the Arlington Public Schools family in a new role as the Director of School Climate and Culture. Prior to his appointment with APS, Gradis served as an elementary and middle school Math teacher, dean of academics, director of operations, professional development leader and assistant principal of an award-winning blue ribbon high school.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. White is passionate about creating conditions for teachers and students to thrive, integrating real-world relevance and hands-on engagement into the curriculum, and ensuring every student is well-rounded and nurtured to succeed.

In education and leadership, Mr. White has been widely recognized for his impact in classroom management training. Known for his expertise on climate and culture, he has received numerous awards, including the Bold School Award for two consecutive years (2017, 2018). In 2019, he presented “Creating A Culture of Failure” on the hazards of implicit bias at the Philadelphia Black Educator Conference centered around school turnaround.

Mr. White earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science at Grambling State University and holds a Master of Higher Education from American College of Education/ Walden University, as well as an Executive Leadership Certificate from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.

Holly Vesilind Appointed Assistant Principal, Swanson Middle School
Holly Vesilind has been a music educator for 21 years. She received her endorsement in Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia, a Master of Education degree from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor of Music degree from George Mason University.

In addition to running several successful band programs, Mrs. Vesilind is a passionate advocate for equity and inclusion who created the “Wolves Against Hate” campaign at Williamsburg Middle School, organized a diversity hiring fair that actively sought diverse educational talent, and served as an equity team co-leader. Mrs. Vesilind has a wide range of leadership experience including recruiting and managing staff, curriculum and assessment design, team leadership, community event planning, career and student advising, and budget management. Mrs. Vesilind is eager to serve as the Assistant Principal at Swanson Middle School.

Stacy Morris Appointed Director of Counseling Services, Wakefield High School
Stacy Morris began her experience as a traditional School Counselor in 2013 at T.C. Williams High School, and after several years was then selected as the first College and Career School Counselor at Alexandria City High School (formerly T.C. Williams High School).  She redefined the role and supports of the College and Career Center, increasing access to post-secondary pathways for all students.  She has been a strong advocate for all students, and has assisted students with post-secondary preparedness, academic planning, and social-emotional wellness at all grade levels.

Ms. Morris was awarded Counselor of the Year (2021) by the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC).  Driven by her dedication to providing equitable opportunities for all students, Ms. Morris brings 10 years of School Counseling experience and was an integral member of the counseling department to be awarded as a recognized counseling program with RAMP status by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) in January 2022. This designation is of national recognition, and Ms. Morris earned this prestigious award as part of the largest high school in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and largest in the state to achieve RAMP status.

Ms. Morris holds a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University, a Masters of Education and Human Development and a Post-Masters Certification in Educational Leadership and Administration from The George Washington University.