‘You Got This’ in Alexandria

‘You Got This’ in Alexandria

Kay-Wyatt named first Black female permanent superintendent.

Melanie Kay-Wyatt, center, is congratulated by ACPS vice chair Jacinta Greene and chair Meagan Alderton following her appointment as ACPS Superintendent of Schools May 4.

Melanie Kay-Wyatt, center, is congratulated by ACPS vice chair Jacinta Greene and chair Meagan Alderton following her appointment as ACPS Superintendent of Schools May 4.

 It's official. Following a nationwide search, the Alexandria City School Board announced May 4 that Melanie Kay-Wyatt will serve as the new permanent superintendent for Alexandria City Public Schools effective July 1.

Kay-Wyatt, who has been serving as the interim superintendent since September of 2022, is the first Black female permanent superintendent to lead ACPS. Her contract will run through June 30, 2027.

“I would like to thank the School Board for selecting me to lead such a division of diversity and commitments,” said an emotional Kay-Wyatt following the announcement. “I look forward to continuing the work that’s ahead of us for our students, for our staff and our greater community.”

Kay-Wyatt was selected from a pool of 35 applicants in a search launched in November 2022 with consultants McPherson & Jacobson, L.L.C Executive Recruitment and Development.

“The work we do is hard, but when we come together, everything is possible.”

— ACPS Interim Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt

Five finalists were interviewed with Kay-Wyatt emerging as the top candidate. She follows Gregory Hutchings Jr., who abruptly announced his resignation in June of 2022, effective Aug. 31 of that year.

“At a time of uncertainty, at a time of difficulty, at a time where we see people leaving the profession in droves, she stayed,” said chair Meagan Alderton on behalf of the School Board. “I thank her for stepping up to do this job. As we see superintendents running for the hills, she did not run. Thank you for deciding to dedicate yourself to the city of Alexandria, to the students of Alexandria. We believe in you. You got this.”

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 Culpeper 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, 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.

ACPS serves more than 15,700 students who hail from more than 119 countries and speak 124 languages. ACPS has 18 schools, including two middle schools, two K-8 schools, one pre-K school and Alexandria City High School.

“We’re in a city with so much history so to be sitting in this role before my colleagues, before students who look at me, it is truly an honor to serve as first black woman superintendent for Alexandria City Schools,” Kay-Wyatt said. “You know you have my full commitment and all I can say is that I'm very proud and I'm honored.”

The terms of Kay-Wyatt’s four-year contract as ACPS superintendent include an annual salary of $265,000.

“The work we do is hard, but what I do know is that when we come together, everything is possible,” Kay-Wyatt said. “With your impact and your passion there are limitless possibilities ahead for all of us and especially for our students.”