July 1, 2019—Today, the Arlington School Board held its annual organizational meeting for the 2019-20 school year and elected Tannia Talento as Chair and Monique O’Grady as Vice Chair. The terms for the new Chair and Vice Chair begin immediately and will continue until June 30, 2020.
“I am proud to be the second Latina to serve in the role of Chair of the School Board and especially that alongside me will be serving Ms. O’Grady, the first elected African American woman to the School Board, as my Vice Chair,” said Talento. She continued, “It is important that our students see diversity in their leadership. It is also important that our students see themselves in their leaders and that is happening simultaneously today for our Latinx and African American students as our leadership changes over. I am proud to serve all of the students and families in Arlington Public Schools and I am honored and grateful that we are taking on these leadership roles with the full support and confidence from our entire board.”
In concluding her remarks, Talento said, “It is incumbent upon our Board to continue our focus on the instruction and well-being of our students. Therefore, I will continue my ardent support and advocacy for our work on mental health awareness and education; for our work on equity and the elimination of our opportunity gaps; and for ensuring that our schools are a safe place for all our students, while maintaining our excellent instruction.”
Update on the Superintendent Transition
During the meeting, Talento thanked Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy for his ten years of service and contributions to APS and provided an update on the superintendent search. The School Board plans to name an interim superintendent by September for the start of the new school year, and will hire an executive search firm to conduct a national search for a permanent superintendent.
“As a Board, our goal is to find a highly qualified leader who will sustain our positive culture of learning and promote excellence and equity for all students. Finding the right leader and the best fit for our community will take some time,” said Talento. “We are approaching this in phases to fulfill both immediate needs and long-term goals, and we also want to ensure the community has a voice in the process.”
She added, “We plan to appoint an interim superintendent by September 3 to provide stability and leadership in the upcoming school year while we initiate a full, national search for a permanent superintendent. We will hire an executive search firm to aid us with the national search and we have directed APS staff to initiate an RFP. We hope to have a search firm hired by early fall.”
Talento also addressed the timeframe for hiring a new superintendent. “Once the search firm is in place, we expect the process of hiring a new superintendent to take several months and we expect the process to also include input from staff, families and the community. We will share more details about our timeline, ways to engage and other updates on the Engage with APS web page as more information becomes available later this summer.”
About the New Chair and Vice Chair
Tannia Talento joined the Arlington School Board on January 1, 2017. She is a longtime advocate for schools and the community, and previously served on several key APS citizen committees, including the Career Center Parent Advisory Committee, the joint county and schools Facility Study Committee, the Superintendent’s Master Planning Working Group, and the ESOL/HILT Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Born and raised in the DC area, Talento is a proud Latina American born to immigrant parents from Guatemala. She built her advocacy career by mentoring young adults in Arlington and helping immigrant and minority students and their families navigate Arlington Public Schools and Northern Virginia Community College pathways. Professionally, Talento spent 15 years in the legal field as key support staff in major corporate and international law firms. She is currently the Chair of the Advisory Board for The Dream Project and a member of the Arlington NAACP chapter.
Monique O’Grady joined the Arlington County School Board on January 1, 2018. O’Grady is a passionate 26-year Arlington resident, 20-year APS parent, longtime community advocate, and communications professional. Before being elected to the School Board, she worked inside schools and across the APS system to bring positive change for students, teachers, and the greater community. She served on the South Arlington Boundary Committee, Early Childhood Advisory Committee, APS South Arlington Working Group, New Elementary School at Thomas Jefferson Building Level Planning Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and Multi-Site Committee for School Facilities. O’Grady also co-chaired the 2016 School Bond Campaign and was a member of the Arlington Arts Commission. She is the recipient of the APS Honored Citizen award and has been recognized by her church and neighborhood for her volunteer efforts.
Next School Board Meeting:
The next School Board meeting will be held on July 25 at 7 p.m. The agenda will be posted one week before the meeting on BoardDocs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Citizens who want to comment on any items discussed at the School Board meeting should email the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-228-6015. Citizens may call 703-228-2400 on the Monday after the School Board meetings to listen to a meeting summary. School Board meetings are also broadcast live on Comcast Cable Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41; live-streamed on the APS website, and re-broadcast on Fridays at 9 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the meeting. All materials and minutes will be posted to the website at aps2016.apsva.us/schoolboard upon School Board approval at a subsequent meeting.