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Alexander Duncan III hired as executive principal of Alexandria City High School

Alexander Duncan III, the new executive principal at Alexandria City High School (via ACPS)

Longtime Alexandria City Public Schools administrator Alexander Duncan III was formally announced last night as the new executive principal of  Alexandria City High School.

Duncan, the ACHS Minnie Howard Campus administrator, will replace ACHS Executive Principal Beter Balas, who announced his departure last month.

“I am so thankful to have the opportunity to expand on all I have learned and experienced to our awesome Alexandria City High School community,” Duncan said in a statement. “Over the next few weeks, the administrative team will be hard at work planning for the upcoming school year. We are both reflecting and developing action steps so we may effectively serve our ACHS community this August and into the school year.”

ACHS, with 4,173 students spread across two campuses, is the second-largest high school in Virginia. The executive principal salary is between $142,000 to $197,000 a year.

Duncan was hired by the school system as a middle school English teacher in 2007, and is a former ACHS assistant principal and summer school principal. He’s been in his current role since 2021, and has a bachelor’s in English from Johnson C. Smith University and a Master of Science in educational leadership from Trinity College.

Duncan said in a recent interview that he will hold meet-and-greet sessions this summer.

Duncan’s full message on the ACHS page is below.

Greetings ACHS Titans,

I am delighted to introduce myself as the new executive principal of Alexandria City High School (ACHS) effective July 1, 2023. Over the past 20 years, I have worked as a teacher and administrator and have made student advocacy a pinnacle of my career’s work. As a proud Titan, with over 10 years experience working with ACHS, I have witnessed, first hand, our school’s passion for learning and commitment to students. And, I continue to remain optimistic about our future, as well as about the success of our students, community and staff. I would also like to give a shout-out to Mr. Peter Balas for the wonderful work he’s done leading our high school through our historical expansion. No doubt, he is truly a shining star and I count it an honor to call him a colleague and friend.

As the African Proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Indeed, we are a village, no matter the roles we play, and each of us has an impact on the day-to-day operations of our school and the lives of our students. As such, the work we do is not only pivotal in our students’  education, but it’s life’s work that is, no doubt, impactful and transformative. And, my goal is to ensure that all staff and students feel heard and that our school is a safe space for students to learn and staff to work.

In the upcoming weeks, I will spend time with our students, staff and community–getting to know you and hearing your feedback. I will also meet with ACHS’ leadership to assess what’s worked and note any areas of concern. As your executive principal, I am committed to celebrating our successes, small and large, and supporting our school with reaching and maximizing our fullest potential. This commitment begins with building an outstanding leadership team. First, over the past two years Mr. Speich has led ACHS’ Special Education Department, 9-12, and the King Street Campus. For the 2023-2024 school year, he has elected not to return to ACHS. Instead, he will serve at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School as an assistant principal. Next, on July 3, 2023, we will welcome Tiffany Barner to our leadership team as assistant principal. Tiffany has been a member of the ACHS school community since 2018. We look forward to Tiffany bringing her strengths of building school culture and climate and instructional leadership to our team. With the departure of Mr. Speich to his new role at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, we will immediately begin the search for a new campus administrator.

I am so thankful to have the opportunity to expand on all I have learned and experienced to our awesome Alexandria City High School community. Throughout the remaining summer weeks, please take time for self care. Whether your summer plans take you abroad or you remain local, please make time for rest and relaxation. Over the next few weeks, the administrative team will be hard at work planning for the upcoming school year. We are both reflecting and developing action steps so we may effectively serve our ACHS community this August and into the school year. Once again, I am excited to see each of you in person. I look forward to serving you!

Best Regards,

Alexander Duncan III, M.S.

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