Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza announced on Monday she would leave the school system in December for a new job as President and Chief Executive Officer of Battelle for Kids (BFK), an education nonprofit in Columbus, Ohio.
While Garza will be new to Battelle for Kids, the organization is not new to FCPS. Battelle for Kids has been providing services to the school system since last year.
Battelle for Kids signed a five-year contract with FCPS in April 2015 to provide professional development and school improvement practices for FCPS’ Department of Instructional Services.
FCPS will pay Battelle for Kids $279,950 under the terms of the contract. The majority of that sum ($224,000) was set to be paid in Year 1 as Battelle for Kids worked with 12 underperforming schools. The contract does not identify which schools.
According to FCPS documents “BFK will implement school improvement practices of six schools identified as high needs during the 2015-2016 school year (Work Stream 1), and six additional schools during the 2016-2017 school year (Work Stream 2).”
“Additionally, BFK will strategically build the capacity of a core team of district personnel as Rounds Facilitators, and will provide turnaround leadership development for the administrators of these
schools. As an extra benefit, BFK will provide access to 15 online courses on Formative Instructional Practices (FIP) to the leaders and teachers at the six campuses during the 2015-2016 school year.”
BFK says through their process, schools learn what is going well, what is not working and how to improve it. and instill “a culture of learning and self-reflection.”
Under FCPS rules, BFK’s history does not appear to be a conflict of interest because Garza was not directly involved in awarding the contract.
She told The Washington Post on Monday she was made aware of the BFK job when contacted by a recruiter this summer.
Garza, who came from Texas to lead FCPS in 2013, signed a four-year contract extension in July. The extension increased her salary by 3 percent, to $300,000.