Hutchings and Alexandria College Board chair Meagan Alderton mentioned in separate interviews Thursday that the superintendent’s resignation was neither desired nor requested by the college board.
“I believe as a board we’re undoubtedly unhappy to see him go,” Alderton mentioned. “Nonetheless, Dr. Hutchings, he simply has much more to do. So we respect that.”
Hutchings, 45, mentioned he feels unhappy to be leaving Alexandria, which is the college system he as soon as was a pupil in and which he lengthy desired to guide as superintendent. However pursuing anti-racism work in Alexandria led him to consider it’s time to apply his skills to comparable challenges in colleges nationwide, he mentioned.
“As we now have been on this anti-racism journey over the previous a number of years, it has actually sparked extra of an curiosity in advocacy for me to proceed on this anti-racist journey past simply Alexandria,” he mentioned. “I’m stepping out on religion to … empower and advocate at a broader scale than simply right here.”
The varsity board has recognized about Hutchings’s impending exit for a while, Alderton mentioned. However Hutchings gave formal discover — and his resignation was formally accepted by the board — at a particular assembly Friday morning.
Hutchings’s final day on the job shall be Aug. 31. Alderton mentioned the college district will work to call an interim superintendent as shortly as attainable and can then start a nationwide seek for Hutchings’s everlasting successor.
Hutchings’s tenure was partially outlined by the coronavirus pandemic — as was the case for superintendents throughout the nation. Hutchings oversaw an virtually in a single day transition to on-line studying in March 2020, earlier than slowly guiding college students again to hybrid after which totally in-person studying.
Hutchings’s pandemic response was marked by exhaustively detailed shows and updates on the college district’s coronavirus knowledge, well being initiatives and reopening plans. A handful of college board discussions grew heated, however Alexandria typically experienced far less turmoil and frustration over online learning and pandemic safety policies than different districts — though some have been upset by Hutchings’s decision to move one of his two children into personal college in the course of the pandemic.
Hutchings additionally positioned a big concentrate on racial justice throughout his tenure. Beneath his management, Alexandria in June 2020 adopted a five-year “Equity for All” strategic plan. The plan aimed to remove gaps in alternative and achievement by 2025; it additionally known as for an “equity policy audit” of all Alexandria college insurance policies to establish systemic racial inequities.
Hutchings launched that audit within the 2020-2021 college 12 months. Alexandria has additionally performed two equity climate surveys, during which college students, staffers and households shared their emotions about their experiences within the college system. And the college district has printed an “equity dashboard” that enables members of the general public to overview real-time knowledge on pupil educational and behavioral outcomes, by racial groupings.
Requested about his proudest accomplishments in Alexandria, Hutchings pointed to all these developments stemming from the fairness plan. He additionally talked about the renaming of two schools, each of which beforehand bore the names of historic figures who held deeply racist beliefs about Black People.
“That ACPS 2025 Fairness for All plan, I consider it’s setting us up for fulfillment and giving us the highway map that we have to dismantle systemic racism in Alexandria Metropolis Public Faculties,” Hutchings mentioned.
Alderton additionally highlighted the superintendent’s fairness work specifically. However she pointed to different developments, too, together with the truth that all Alexandria colleges gained accreditation in 2019 for the primary time in division historical past, and that, beneath Hutchings, Alexandria in 2021 achieved its highest on-time-graduation charge (91 %) and lowest dropout charge (5 %) since Virginia started reporting that knowledge in 2008.
She additional praised his “actually seamless” budgeting, noting that the working budgets adopted by Alexandria beneath his management in 2022 and 2023 emphasised worker compensation.
“I simply need to say that beneath Dr. Hutchings’s management, I’ve seen such superb development in our faculty division,” Alderton mentioned. “I do know that he has the arrogance that we are able to transfer this work ahead.”
In contrast to some neighboring districts — notably Loudoun County Public Faculties — Alexandria has not seen important parental anger over its racial justice initiatives. What has generated controversy is a years-long debate over the right function of police in colleges.
In spring 2021, the Alexandria Metropolis Council voted to take away police from the town’s colleges, in opposition to the desires of the superintendent and his prime officers. The next educational 12 months noticed a string of violent incidents as college students returned to campus, a lot of them for the primary time because the pandemic started.
Going through parental criticism and concern, the council ultimately reversed itself and voted to revive police to varsities. Some violence has continued, nevertheless; most just lately, an 18-year-old Alexandria Metropolis Excessive College pupil was fatally stabbed at a shopping mall close to campus.
In late April, the college board approved a proposal from Hutchings to determine an advisory group that can work to reimagine the connection between colleges and metropolis police. Within the meantime, the board is requesting a minimum of one other 12 months of funding for varsity police, a request the town council has but to reply as it really works via its budgeting course of.
Earlier than holding the highest job within the Alexandria college district, Hutchings served as superintendent in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in addition to working as a trainer, principal and administrator at school methods scattered throughout Virginia and Tennessee. He has a bachelor’s diploma in interdisciplinary research from Outdated Dominion College, a grasp’s in academic management from George Mason College and a doctorate in schooling coverage from William & Mary.
Hutchings’s contract, renewed in June 2021, was to run out in 2025.