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Leis' Last Days

For nearly an hour, members of the Fairfax County School Board, the schools superintendent and schools staff said their good-byes to deputy superintendent Alan Leis Thursday, April 10.

"I'm so excited about this being my last board meeting, but I'm also sad about leaving," Leis said of all the fuss.

With his family, wife, Kathy, a school-system French teacher, and daughters, Elizabeth and Julia, beside him, Leis was presented with a glass table containing a plaque, listened as a lengthy proclamation recognizing his more than 30-years of service in the school system was read and was surprised to learn the Walnut Hill Center in Falls Church will be renamed the Alan Leis Instructional Center.

Leis becomes the new superintendent of Naperville Community Unit School District 203 in Illinois July 1; however, April 15 marked his last day on the job in Fairfax County. He began his career in Fairfax County as a classroom teacher at Herndon Elementary and has served as executive assistant to the deputy superintendent for school operations, as well as assistant superintendent for the Department of Human Resources.

Leis' contributions to the school system include planning and implementing a new merit pay-based evaluation system for teachers and principals, initiating an overhaul of the school system’s hiring practices, designing and implementing the nation’s first entirely new teacher hiring process using technology and implementing a managed health-care system for employees that saves the school system more than $1 million annually. He has been responsible for overseeing special projects such as the adult education program, a community task force on fund-raising and advertising in the schools and coordination of Project Excel.

With his impending departure, the board has created two new positions to take on the responsibilities Leis had as deputy superintendent. Thomas Brady, formerly the assistant superintendent of the Department of Facilities, was named chief operating officer, and Nancy Sprague, formerly assistant superintendent for Instructional Services, is the new chief academic officer.

The split will allow Sprague to focus on managing and ensuring the accountability of the educational programs, including curriculum and instruction for general, special and adult education and all student-related services. Brady, on the other hand, will concentrate on administrative matters.