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Loudoun County Public Schools names new superintendent amid controversy over response to sexual assaults

The Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia named Aaron Spence as the next superintendent on Friday, seven months after the district fired its superintendent amid allegations of mishandling sexual assault cases at two schools.

Spence, who has served as the superintendent of Virginia Beach Public Schools since 2014, was voted in a 6 to 2 decision to lead LCPS. One board member was absent for the vote. 

“I am honored to serve as your superintendent and look forward to building upon the already solid foundation of academic excellence in Loudoun County Public Schools,” he said in a statement. “It will be my goal from day one to ensure we are leading together to build trust, create even greater transparency for our community around the outstanding work of our school division, recruit and retain a world-class team of educators, and leverage the power of relationships with families and stakeholders to strengthen us.”

Spence takes the reins from Daniel Smith, who was appointed interim superintendent in December. Smith had taken over after superintendent Scott Ziegler was fired by the school board over a grand jury report accusing the district of failing to adequately respond to reports of sexual assault.

The policy, which had not yet been implemented at the time of the assault, allows students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The suspect was transferred to another school in the district and allegedly sexually assaulted another girl in October 2021. The suspect faced charges in both cases and was found guilty of the first sexual assault.

The grand jury report accused the district of looking out for its own interests over the best interests of its students in its handling of the sexual assaults and that LCPS “failed at every juncture.”

According to emails outlined in the grand jury report, senior district officials had privately met to discuss the first assault and linked it to the transgender policy.

The U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation in April into the handling of the sexual assault cases at LCPS.


LCPS hired a firm in February to lead its search for a new superintendent. A survey of parents, students and community members that led to more than 4,000 responses showed that school safety, staff retention and a focus on academics were among the most important issues.

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