Garza is taking a job as president and CEO of Battelle for Kids, a nonprofit education organization based in Columbus, Ohio.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served this world-class school system since June 2013,” Garza said. “It has been an honor and privilege to have worked with the dedicated and professional staff who make FCPS the finest school system in the country.”
The school board plans to name an interim superintendent and in the coming weeks will provide details regarding the search process.
“The school board is extremely sorry to lose Dr. Garza, but is very grateful for her leadership since 2013. We wish her the very best in her next endeavor,” says a statement from school board chair Sandy Evans (Mason).
“As the first woman to lead FCPS in its history, Dr. Garza has been a transformational leader who has had a tremendous positive impact on our schools, families, employees, and most importantly the children of Fairfax County,” Evans says. “She has taken FCPS to new levels of achievement with vision, candor, and grace. Dr. Garza and her leadership team worked closely with the school board to establish the Portrait of a Graduate and to create our strategic plan, Ignite.”
Among Garza’s accomplishments cited by Evans: a top priority on student achievement, support and attention to the most challenged schools, implementation of later high school start times, full-day Mondays for elementary students, and reduced elementary class sizes.
“A tireless advocate for teachers, she navigated one of the most challenging budget environments in recent memory, and achieved the largest investment in FCPS teacher compensation in a decade,” Evans continued. “Under her leadership, FCPS has embarked on a path that will transform our schools in positive ways that benefit all children, our employees, and our community.”