Two longtime members of the city’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee (BFAAC) resigned earlier this month after severely criticizing the leadership of Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt during a meeting.
BFAAC Vice Chair Kathy Stenzel resigned on Dec. 14 and Board Member Karen Graf resigned on Dec. 16 without providing a reason, according to the city. Graf was chair of the Alexandria School Board in 2013 and 2014, and was a School Board member for six years.
The resignations followed an adhoc Dec. 11 subcommittee meeting, where members were planning an upcoming joint session between city and ACPS staff. In that meeting, Stenzel, Graf and member Laurie McNamara said that Kay-Wyatt is “closed off,” and questioned her leadership style and how effectively ACPS staff work with city staff.
“I was very disappointed when they put her up as superintendent,” said Stenzel, who was on the committee since 2019. ” I think she runs a pretty closed book over at schools. I think it trickles down onto staff, on their comfort with being open on what they’re working on.”
Kay-Wyatt was hired as superintendent in May, after spending nearly a year as interim-superintendent. She was initially hired as the ACPS human resources director in 2021. She took over a post-pandemic school system that was heavily criticized for its poor collaboration with the city, increased safety concerns, teacher and staff retention, as well as learning loss and underperforming standardized test scores.
Kay-Wyatt declined to comment on the subcommittee meeting to ALXnow.
Graf accused Kay-Wyatt of micromanaging communications staff, and said that she was “stunned” last month when she and ACPS Chief Financial Officer Dominic Turner joined City Council’s annual budget retreat on Zoom instead of in person. In that meeting, Kay-Wyatt unveiled the school system’s priorities over the next fiscal year, with one of them being improved collaboration between ACPS and the city.
“I was stunned,” Graf said. “I guess I would be pissed if I was Council, too, because our (School) Board’s used to show up en masse. Definitely all of us were there because we want to show force; that we’re here. We believe in what we’re telling you about the school system.”
In that Nov. 4 meeting, Kay-Wyatt said that her priorities include building partnerships and collaborations with the city.
“We are truly working on building a collaborative energy and a collaborative spirit and relationship with the city moving forward,” Kay-Wyatt said.
McNamara said that criticism levied against Kay-Wyatt is unfair “in a way,” but that ACPS has been tone-deaf by rebranding itself with a new logo while struggling under an avalanche of criticism due to teacher vacancies and collective bargaining issues. She said that the social media comments on the logo change exemplify the issues many see with Kay-Wyatt.
“It is just the essence of tone deafness in this environment,” McNamara said.
Stenzel, Graf and McNamara did not respond to requests for comment.
The next BFAAC meeting is Jan. 16.
A bit of a slower news week in Alexandria. The fight over the Potomac Yard arena was still ongoing and Metro funding got tied up into the mix. Over the…
A new pilot program to step up parking enforcement in Old Town netted 4,000 citations in its first month. A staff memo (page 8) to the Traffic and Parking Board…
The Alexandria School Board approved its fiscal year 2025 $384.4 million combined funds budget on Thursday night and it is asking City Council for $21 million more than the previous…
A 4 BD/3 BA brick townhome with a gas fireplace, floor to ceiling windows and a 2 car garage is featured in Just Listed.
Are you looking to work on health and fitness from the comfort of your own home?
Skip the big box gym and try out our in-home personal training service. We bring the gym to you so that you can save time and avoid the hassle of going the the crowded gym.
We bring all the equipment you need for a solid workout and if you have a community gym we can use that too.
We offer programs that will help with weight loss, strength, flexibility, more energy and overall feeling better.
Peace in Gaza: Prayer Liturgy and Community Discussion for Peace in Arlington VA, Sunday, Feb. 11, 10:15 AM
Prayer, liturgy, and community discussion for peace in Gaza, an immediate cease fire and resumption of humanitarian aid will be hosted by Nova Catholic Community. The focus will be Pope Francis’ call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, resumption of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, and peace talks for a lasting and just peace for all people in the region.
Discussion will follow at Noon on US military role in the conflict and appropriate steps the US should take to foster peace and rebuilding. Light lunch served.
Again this year, The Critical Mass, LLC, the Made in ALX store and local Ukrainian-American artists are throwing a Pysanky Party — and partnering on a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization Razom for Ukraine.
The free event, from 5 –