LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — The Loudoun County Public School board announced Dr. Aaron Spence as the district's new superintendent on Friday.
Spence will be bringing nearly three decades of experience in public education. He has served as the Virginia Beach Public Schools superintendent since 2014, where he oversaw 86 schools and more than 65,000 students.
“I am excited to meet with students, parents, staff and community members as I learn more about their hopes and aspirations for the school division,” Spence said in a statement Friday. “It will be my goal from day one to ensure we are leading together to build trust, create even greater transparency for our community around the outstanding work of our school division, recruit and retain a world-class team of educators, and leverage the power of relationships with families and stakeholders to strengthen us.”
Spence was awarded the 2018 Virginia Superintendent of the Year award by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. During his tenure, he established a Student Discipline Task Force made up of teachers, administrators, parents and community members after a review of the disproportionalities in discipline, specifically for Black students and students with special needs. The task force aimed to close the gaps while maximizing instructional time for all students in the classroom.
Before working in Virginia Beach, Spence served as superintendent of Moore County Public Schools in North Carolina. During that time period, the district moved up 20 places in state education rankings.
Spence attended Green Run High School in Virginia Beach before attending the University of Virginia where he received a degree in French studies and a master's degree in secondary education, as well as a doctorate in educational administration and supervision.
In January 2020, Spence received pushback from the community over a Facebook post by his wife that criticized then-President Donald Trump.
According to reporting from WVEC, WUSA's sister station in Virginia Beach, Krista Spence said Trump could "go and F**k himself." The couple later apologized to staff, students, school board members and the community. Spence defended his wife's right to free speech and self-expression but said he didn't "condone this type of language."
Spence recently spoke out about behavioral issues within the district, saying administrators had sent nearly 60 messages home to families about threats to the school division.
“We have seen where maybe they pick up a chair and throw it,” Spence said in an interview with WVEC. “We have had to clear out classrooms on a pretty regular basis to make sure we can get the child calm and not hurting himself or others.”
Spence will replace Dr. Scott Ziegler who was fired in a unanimous vote by the school board in December 2022 following a grand jury investigation of two sexual assaults on school grounds in 2021, along with officials' lacking responses.
Dr. Daniel Smith has been working as the district's interim superintendent since then. The school district hired Arizona firm GR Recruiting to help with the nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
Ziegler and LCPS spokesperson Wayde Byard were indicted in 2022 following a months-long investigation into the district's response after two girls were sexually assaulted by the same 14-year-old student at two different Loudoun County schools.
The former superintendent is accused of lying to an unnamed publication about sexual assaults in school bathrooms and retaliating against a teacher.
In January, a judge refused to throw out the case against Ziegler after his lawyer argued that the attorney general's office had no legal authority under state law to prosecute the case.
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