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New principals chosen for Alexandria elementary schools

Mount Vernon Community School at 2601 Commonwealth Avenue in Del Ray (via Google Maps)

A new principal has been chosen for the Mount Vernon Community School (MVCS) and George Mason Elementary School.

At a School Board meeting last night, Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt announced that Jen Hamilton, the ACPS dual language coordinator, was picked to be the new principal of Alexandria’s largest elementary school.

Hamilton will be replacing Principal Liza Burrell-Aldana, who resigned earlier this year just a few months after being named Washington Post’s 2023 Principal of the Year. Burrell-Aldana had been the principal of the school since 2017 and got a new job in neighboring Arlington Public Schools.

Hamilton was an assistant principal at MVCS from 2018 to 2022. The 800-student school is known for its dual language program, a program Hamilton said she wants to continue building on.

“I’m not a candidate who is seeking a principalship somewhere,” Hamilton said at an early Q&A. “I’m a candidate who is seeking a principalship here specifically at Mount Vernon, which is a school that I’ve served at for the last five years and where I feel a commitment to and a passion for the students, staff, community and program.”

At the same meeting, it was announced that Christopher Finan would be taking the helm of George Mason Elementary School.

Finan comes to ACPs from New Mexico where he’s been an elementary school principal for the last two years.

According to ACPS:

Mr. Finan comes to ACPS from Albuquerque Public Schools in New Mexico where he has served as an elementary school principal since July 2021. Prior to that, he was an elementary school principal at the Community Day Charter Public Schools in Lawrence, Massachusetts and previously served as a principal intern within Boston and Framingham Public Schools. Mr. Finan was a curriculum facilitator at New Haven Public Schools in Connecticut and also served as a fellow of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was a school operations manager with Teach for America. He also served as a Teach for America corps member and taught seventh and eighth grade science at Clinton Avenue School (K-8) in New Haven, Connecticut.

Mr. Finan received a bachelor’s degree in biology and Hispanic Studies at Boston College. He has a master’s in school leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He studied Spanish language and literature at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain and is fluent in Spanish.

Image via Google Maps

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