With the completion of our new high school, Falls Church City Public Schools has a combined secondary campus, allowing a unique opportunity to institute a fresh educational model serving half of the student body.
In preparation for this, FCCPS middle and high school secondary leadership teams have been meeting bi-weekly since last summer to devise a new model that builds on the strengths of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and division goals of a caring community and culture. Although conjoined, Mary Ellen Henderson and the soon-to-be Meridian High School will retain their separate identities while sharing students and staff across one campus, creating instructional cohesion from Grade 6 through Grade 12.
To make the most of this new continuity, Superintendent Peter Noonan announced a new leadership model for the Secondary Campus — one that “celebrates the fantastic work of our current leaders while giving each new opportunities to soar. I am pleased to announce the following moves that will take effect on July 1st, 2021,” Noonan said in a letter to staff and parents.
After successfully leading George Mason High School for eight years, the last five as its Principal, Matt Hills is moving to the Central Office to become the division’s first Director of School Support. “The move leverages Mr. Hills’ strengths division-wide by supporting the upcoming IB evaluation, supporting all of our Associate and Assistant Principals, and building more robust, cohesive communications between all FCCPS schools and the Central Office,” Dr. Noonan said.
Over the last year, the secondary leadership team’s work has seen administrators at both schools working more closely together. The collaboration has led to benefits including curriculum integration, alignment, continuity of service, and common bell schedules.
To lead this new combined structure, Mary Ellen Henderson principal Valerie Hardy will transition to become the division’s first Head of Secondary Schools with overall responsibility for the combined Henderson Middle and Meridian High campus. To aid Ms. Hardy, Henderson’s assistant principal Rob Carey, and Meridian’s assistant principal Dave Serensits, will move up to a new Associate Principal’s role managing the day-to-day instruction and operations at their respective schools.
“I am incredibly excited for the opportunity the combined secondary campus affords. And I am equally pleased to reward our team of strong leaders with these new opportunities to build capacity for the careers ahead of them,” Noonan said. “Join me in congratulating all of these leaders. Let us celebrate the opportunity now before us as we walk out of a challenging year into a brighter future.”