Superintendent's Weekly Reflections

By Dr. Michelle C. Reid
Superintendent's Messages
January 01, 2024

Hello Team FCPS,

Well, it is 2024 and I wish each of you a Happy and Joyful New Year!! We have bid 2023 adieu and are welcoming 2024 with all of its promise and opportunities. “For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” — T.S. Eliot (1888-1965). There is so much that awaits us in the coming year; much of which we will have prepared for and much of which we cannot have prepared for. I am thrilled to be on the journey with you...

As winter crept in quietly before the break, our shortest days are now behind us. That being said, the increased light is growing each and every day…  As I reflect on the year past and anticipate the opportunities for joy and growth in the year upcoming, I am thoughtful about all that we have done together and all that we have yet to do. We can feel confident that while there will be challenges we have not anticipated, we have the skills and drive to meet them and together have the capacity to continue the strong traditions in this amazing school division; together all things are possible. 

As we’re in the season of reflecting on the abundance of blessings and opportunities we have here in Fairfax County, I’d like to highlight FCPS alum James Wrobeh and the members of Team FCPS who helped him shine! I appreciate the work of our Office of Communications for telling James’ story.

Dr. Reid with James Wrobeh

Because of the Liberian civil war, James didn’t begin his formal education until he was well into his teens; he recalls being “14 years old sitting among little kids learning to read and write.” Five years later, James came to the United States and enrolled in Bryant High School. It was a time for many firsts for him — his first time using a computer, his first time enrolling in an American school, and his first time feeling like he had the resources and support that he needed to flourish. James says, “It was something I never experienced before — people being interested in my well-being and my education.” Thanks to James’ hard work and a strong support network, he graduated in three years, moved on to Virginia State University and then joined the Army. Before deploying this year, he worked as a substitute teacher at Garfield Elementary School, as a way to give back to the school division he calls home.

During the winter break, James stopped by Gatehouse with a special guest to catch us up on how he’s been doing. He also had happy news to share: he recently became engaged! Congratulations to James and his lovely fiancée! During this season of giving, his journey is a timely reminder of how much we have to be thankful for here at FCPS, and of the transformative power of public education. This work matters!

During the winter break, I visited Paul Springs Retirement Community to celebrate retired FCPS educator, Billie Myler. Billie, who’s now 90 years old, was an educator for decades — including at Hollins Hills Elementary School, which was converted into the Paul Springs Community where she now resides.

Dr. Reid celebrates retired FCPS educator Billie Myler

Billie has a special connection with Hollins Hills ES because it wasn’t just her workplace, it was also where she first met her late husband Dickie! As the story goes, Dickie helped her with her car and invited her for a cup of tea. That one cup of tea turned into a hours-long conversation, then a beautiful marriage. They both worked as educators until retirement. They were also married for nearly 60 years. 

It was a delight to visit Billie and help celebrate all that she’s given to our community, first as an elementary educator and now as a cherished member of Paul Springs. Between her and Dickie’s decades of teaching, they’ve touched many thousands of lives. Thank you, Billie! And thank you to the Paul Springs staff who helped give Billie this special, well-deserved moment.

Shout out to two FCPS teams recently won at the Virginia High School League Esports Tournament Championships! 

  • Woodson High School won the Rocket League Championship, led by Coaches Michael Kuykendall and Johnny Shu
  • Centreville High School won the League of Legends Championship, led by Coach Tad Rauluk 

Woodson HS and Centreville HS at the VHSL Esports Tournament Championships

Congratulations to the players and their coaches; I’m told this is the second championship win for both schools! Though I can’t speak from much of my own personal experience — unless you count Wordle ;>) — competitive gaming can provide many of the same benefits as other team sports, such as fostering communication, persistence, and social connections. Beyond that, esports can help instill an interest in STEM coursework and careers. Go Wildcats and Cavaliers!!

Finally, as I think about this upcoming year, all that we have come through and all that we have yet to experience, I am moved by the words of Amanda Gorman who shared; “This is such a unique New Year’s Day, because even as we toast our glasses to the future, we still have our heads bowed for what has been lost,” she wrote. “I think one of the most important things the new year reminds us is of that old adage: This too shall pass. You can’t relive the same day twice — meaning every dawn is a new one, and every year an opportunity to step into the light.” – Amanda Gorman. In Our House, we remain resolutely committed to staying in the light…

Take good care,

Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Fairfax County Public Schools