In a surprise move Monday tonight, the Loudoun County School Board elected a new chairman.
During the annual organizational meeting, second-term School Board member Jeff Morse (Dulles) was elected by his colleagues to lead the nine-member board. Morse was nominated to the position by Eric Hornberger (Ashburn), who has served as the board’s chairman since he was first elected to the panel in 2012. The board re-elects a chairman every January.
Following the vote, Hornberger said he’s enjoyed leading the board for the past five years, but it was time to pass the baton. “It has been a great honor to have the opportunity to serve as chairman, but it is a good time to step down,” he said. “I’m thrilled that we have Jeff Morse, a great board member who has the experience to serve in this capacity.”
In an interview Tuesday, Morse noted that Loudoun County Public Schools has big things on the horizon, including the Academies of Loudoun, set to open in fall of 2018, and major enrollment growth, especially in his district.
“I think the board is headed in the right direction. We just need to continue to improve the quality of education as well as the efficiency of Loudoun County Public Schools,” he said. “I think we’re headed down that road, and I—the full board, really—would like to continue to make those improvements.”
He also said he’d like to see an increase in teachers’ professional development, and continue expanding One to the World, which is an initiative of Superintendent Eric Williams. It encourages teachers to teach classroom lessons that empower students to make real-world impacts.
Morse is a 14-year resident of South Riding. He served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, retiring as a commander in 2006. He is a lead associate for Booz Allen Hamilton, managing and procuring technology and services for the federal government.
His wife, Karen, is a kindergarten assistant at Hutchison Farm Elementary. The couple has three children; two attend Loudoun public schools and one attends Virginia Tech.
School Board member Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) said he appreciated Hornberger’s hard work and dedication as the board’s leader throughout the past five years, adding that he feels “this transition will bring not only new leadership to the helm but also new perspective that will further enhance our ability to ensure all LCPS students are prepared to make meaning contributions to the world.”
The vote to appoint Morse was unanimous from the board members present; Joy Maloney (Broad Run) was absent for the vote.
This article was updated Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 3:37 p.m. to include comment from Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles).