At Tuesday morning’s annual “Back to School” assembly of all the paid staff of the City of Falls Church’s public school system and its five schools was briefed on the issues surrounding and importance of the $120 million school bond referendum that will be on the ballot in the City. F.C. Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly, who is also the outreach coordinator for the schools, laid out the issues of what passage of the referendum will mean for the future of the system, were it to pass. She was joined in the standing room only audience by City Council member Phil Duncan and City Manager Wyatt Shields.
New Superintendent Peter Noonan, who took his post in mid-May, gave a lengthy presentation to introduce himself, including his concept of the kind of “servant leadership” he espouses, citing “the power of public education” rendered with an “ethical lens” and “students in the forefront.” in “a culture of equity and fairness.” He affirmed it is the aspiration of the Falls Church system, one of only seven in the entire U.S. that offers a K-12 International Baccalaureate curriculum, to be “the premiere IB school division in the U.S.”
He presented certificates to the principals of four of the public schools who have been honored as recipients of the State Board of Education’s “2017 Excellence in Education” awards, one of only two of 231 systems in the state to be so widely honored. Also, a series of individual system awards were presented, including longevity awards that this year went to Dorothy Clinton and Heidi Lang for 30 years service in the system, and Charmaine Barr, Eleanor Hawkesworth and Gloria Londono for 25 years.
Also addressing the assembly were School Board chair Lawrence Webb, Farrell Kelly, president of the Falls Church Education Association and Debbie Hiscott, executive director of the Falls Church Education Foundation. Connelly was filling in for Mayor David Tarter, who was unable to attend today.
Classes are slated to begin through the system next Tuesday, Sept. 5.