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Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence to leave Virginia Beach City Public Schools for job in Loudoun County

He's served as the superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools since 2014 and led the school division through the pandemic transitions.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — There is a big change coming to Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS).

Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence announced he will soon leave his post to take a new job in another large school division in Virginia, and it is one that has had its share of controversy. 

In a statement, Dr. Spence described this moment in his career as "bittersweet." The Green Run High School graduate has served as superintendent at the Beach since 2014.

On Friday evening, members of the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board in Northern Virginia tapped Spence as the person to fill their key vacancy.

"We are at the conclusion of a six-month nationwide search for a new superintendent," said Ian Serotkin, the Loudoun County school board chair after announcing Spence as the chosen candidate. "My personal highest priority during this process was to find a superintendent who is experienced, accomplished and successful at running a large, complex school division, and Dr. Spence fits the bill perfectly." 

The last superintendent at LCPS, Dr. Scott Ziegler, was fired over his administration's handling of a case involving two sexual assaults by the same student.

"Right now, we have a gaping wound in our school system," said Loudoun County School Board member Tiffany Polifko, who did not vote in favor of Spence. "It is my belief that it is not the current school board that should be [...] selecting the next superintendent to lead Loudoun County Public Schools." 

RELATED | Judge allows case to continue against fired Loudoun County schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler

Spence, who is a product of VBCPS, worked and led several other school divisions but came back to the Beach in 2014.

"I grew up here. I've lived my whole life here. I've taught here for 37 years. So, I've had a lot of superintendents in the school system since I've been around, and he's probably the best one we've ever had," said Trenace Riggs, a retired educator and chair of the Virginia Beach School Board. 

Riggs also called Spence a visionary and dynamic leader. 

"He has done so much. He is so involved. He's involved nationwide, not only in the city or the Hampton Roads area," she added.

In a letter to the community, Spence said some of his biggest accomplishments include the implementation of full-day Kindergarten, the opening of an environmental studies program and entrepreneur academy, as well as teamwork with the school board to raise salaries for staff.

"No one should be concerned to the point where, 'Oh my gosh, what's going to happen now?' Yes, we're losing a great leader, but we have some good leaders in our school system who have worked under Dr. Spence, and they've done a great job," said Riggs. 

On a VB Schools post online linking to Spence's announcement, commenters are sharing mixed reactions. Some wish him well and thank him for his service in Virginia Beach, while others say they're glad he's leaving.

Spence's nearly decade-long tenure in Virginia Beach did not go without controversy.

Namely, around New Year's in 2020, he issued an apology following a Facebook post his wife wrote and tagged him in. In which, she used an expletive toward President Donald Trump.

Dr. Spence will transition into his new role in Loudoun County in the coming months, according to a news release from VBCPS

The Virginia Beach school board will meet Tuesday to talk about the next steps. It is still unclear who will serve as superintendent on an interim basis. 

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