From Lubbock Independent School District:
In a letter to employees earlier today, Karen Garza, Ph.D., announced that she has accepted the superintendency of the Fairfax County Schools in Fairfax, Virginia. On Saturday, April 6, 2013, the Fairfax County School Board, unanimously selected Garza as their preferred candidate for superintendent of the district of 181,000 students. With almost 200 schools and an annual budget of more than $2 billion, the Fairfax County Public School system is the eleventh-largest school system in the nation. The Fairfax County School Board is expected to take final action on Garza's appointment later this month.
In the email to employees, Garza said, "I thank the district leadership, the Lubbock ISD teachers and all other Lubbock ISD staff for their support over the last four years. We have asked a lot of you as we implemented an aggressive, but intentional plan to improve student achievement and you have risen to the occasion through your very hard work and extraordinary dedication. Lubbock ISD students are the beneficiaries of your tremendous efforts," Garza added.
During her four-year tenure, Garza led Lubbock ISD through several major initiatives, including the district's first comprehensive facility assessment, which ended with voters passing a $198 million bond issue, the largest in district history. State-of-the-art classroom technology, tools to improve student safety and academic achievement, and improvement to district art and athletic facilities were among the bond measures approved.
Garza built the district's student enrollment to more than 29,000 for the first time since the late 1990's. Achievement gaps narrowed as she increased academic rigor, implemented the district's first aligned curriculum, and started a drop-out recovery program. Transparency and community engagement were also hallmarks of Garza's leadership. In the last 12 months, she secured more than $25 million in private and foundation grants.
LISD Board of Trustees President Steve Massengale said of Garza's departure, "We are very disappointed for Lubbock ISD to lose Karen Garza; however, we are proud of what we've accomplished under her leadership. She is a tireless champion for children and has both the vision and leadership skills to be a catalyst for lasting change. The board joins me in wishing Karen and Louis all the best in the future."
"I anticipate the board will name an interim very quickly, and then we'll discuss our options moving forward," Massengale added. "Parents can be confident the board and leadership team will continue the outstanding progress initiated by Dr. Garza."