Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams attended his final School Board meeting Monday night. He is leaving the post this week to lead theClear Creek Independent School District near Houston,TX.
Williams, who was hired in July 2014, is only the sixth superintendent in Loudoun since the school division was formed in 1917. His final day will be Jan. 6.
School Board members pointed out some of Williams’ lasting impacts as they reflected on his service Monday night.
School Board Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) and Jeff Morse (Dulles) were members of the board that six years ago selected Williams from among 80 candidates during a nationwide search.
Morse highlighted Williams’ “remarkable successes,” including efforts to offer universal full-day kindergarten; launch the program to get internet-connected devices in the hands of every student, an initiative the proved critical to the pandemic pivot to distance learning; and the achievement of having every school meet federally mandated adequate yearly progress standards.
Sheridan pointed to his efforts to promote project-based learning, address the special needs of the county’s Title 1 schools, update the salary scales and secure raises for staff members, and to create a safe and encouraging environment for staff to report misbehavior by other staff.
Of the latter, she said, “This initially was seen as an increase in bad staff behavior, but what it truly indicated was the need for that policy change to ensure our students safety was always the number one priority and that for me is very respectable.”
As chairwoman of the division’s Equity Committee, Sheridan also praised Williams for his work in that realm.
“People may not realize or appreciate your efforts to address equity. It is difficult work, difficult conversations. It requires reflection and the ability to take criticism when you are trying to do the right thing,” she said. “I valued your thoughtful approach, your support of the Equity Committee, contracting the equity assessment and starting us on a journey to truly tackle systemic racism that plagues our history books and persists in our buildings today. I’ll be making continuing this work a priority for your successor.”
“Being a public servant takes a thick skin, the ability to reflect on oneself and adjust as needed. You exemplify these qualities,” Sheridan said.
Williams thanked the board members and his staff for their dedication.
“We have incredibly talented, caring people who give so much of themselves and that has made my time here so rewarding,” he said.
He said Loudoun’s schools and its students have tremendous community support and even when concerns are raised by the public it only demonstrates how greatly K-12 education is valued in the county.
“I will always cherish my time here in Loudoun County. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to serve the community here,” he said.
The School Board has announced its intension to conduct a national search for the division’s seventh superintendent and discussed the hiring of a search firm during a closed session Monday night.