Alexandria City School Board Appoints Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt as ACPS Permanent Superintendent
At the May 4, 2023, Alexandria City School Board meeting, the School Board announced that Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt will serve as the new permanent superintendent for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), effective July 1, 2023. Kay-Wyatt was selected from a pool of 35 applicants in a national search process that the Board launched in November 2022 with consultants McPherson & Jacobson, L.L.C Executive Recruitment and Development.
The search included feedback from 2,056 community survey participants and representation from 19 stakeholder groups who participated in several focus group meetings. With the support of the executive search consultants, the board narrowed the interviews down to five finalists. Dr Kay-Wyatt emerged from a rigorous process as the best candidate to move our schools forward. She has led the division as the ACPS interim superintendent since Sept. 1, 2022, and will remain in this role until becoming the permanent superintendent on July 1, 2023, with a contract that extends through June 30, 2027. Dr. Kay-Wyatt will be the first Black female permanent superintendent of ACPS.
“The School Board is excited to announce Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt as our next permanent superintendent for ACPS. She is an experienced, forward-thinking leader, and is exactly what we need for our school division’s success. She brings to this role a focus on academic excellence and social-emotional well-being for our students, and will continue to emphasize and ensure that we have safe schools,” said Alexandria City School Board Chair Meagan L. Alderton. “Dr. Kay-Wyatt’s experience as a teacher, school administrator, human resources expert and division-wide leader is crucial to her vision for creating a more supportive, positive climate and community that extends from Central Office all the way through our schools.” Alderton added, “The Board also wants to express our gratitude to Dr. Kay-Wyatt for stepping up when she was needed last summer and adapting quickly to serving ACPS as interim superintendent during this school year.”
Kay-Wyatt was ACPS chief of human resources before her appointment as interim superintendent in August 2022; previously, she had served as acting chief of human resources and executive director of human resources. She joined the school division in July 2021. Prior to ACPS, Kay-Wyatt worked in Human Resources at Spotsylvania Public Schools, served as a principal and assistant principal at Fredericksburg City Public Schools, and was a special education teacher at both Culpepper County Schools and Fredericksburg City Public Schools. She has also served as an executive coach and educational consultant, as well as a faculty member at the College of William and Mary and Shenandoah University. Under Kay-Wyatt’s leadership, the ACPS Department of Human Resources significantly increased recruitment and hiring, strengthened partnerships with universities, improved staff onboarding and elevated employee wellness and recognition. She was instrumental in designing and leading the staff vaccination and testing requirement process in Fall 2021 and ensuring that all schools and offices remained open throughout the 2021-22 school year with innovative strategies to identify and reassign staff as needed during critical staff shortages.
Kay-Wyatt has held various leadership positions in the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), including as president and chair of the Board of Directors, and was involved in educational policy at the state and federal levels as part of the ASCD legislative committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mary Washington College, a master’s degree in education from Old Dominion University, a master of education degree in educational leadership from University of Mary Washington and a doctorate in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University. Among her awards and recognitions are the Jaycees Educator of the Year and the James Monroe High School Teacher of the Year.
“I want to thank the School Board for selecting me to lead ACPS and for being great collaborators as we have worked together during the current school year. I look forward to continuing our school division’s work on behalf of ACPS students and our school community,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt. “Everything we do is for our students, and this is an exciting opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment and support for all of our students in their social-emotional and academic success. In this search process and throughout this school year, we have heard the priorities, hopes and dreams of students, staff, families and community members. I look forward to continuing to work with our school leaders and staff to best serve our students and the ACPS community.”
The search process managed by McPherson & Jacobson was extensive and considered applicants from across the nation and engaged ACPS stakeholders to share their input through an online community survey in multiple languages and via face-to-face and virtual discussions with stakeholder groups to gather their views in December 2022 and January 2023. Updates and a timeline were provided to students, staff, families and community members. The consulting firm published reports online in February 2023 that shared stakeholder input gathered during this process about school division assets and challenges, as well as the characteristics sought in the division’s next permanent superintendent.
“The Board wants to thank everyone who engaged in this process and took the time to provide their input in the online survey and the stakeholder group discussions facilitated by the consultant. We are proud of how invested the community is in our schools, and we know that this community support not only benefits our students, but is an asset to our new superintendent and our leadership and staff,” said Alderton.
The full press release is available online.
- Alexandria City School Board