ACPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings. Photo courtesy of Susan Hale Thomas/ACPS.
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings has enrolled one of his two children in Bishop Ireton, a private Catholic high school in Alexandria that operates under a hybrid learning model, in contrast to ACPS’s entirely virtual model. A hybrid model includes virtual and in-person instruction.
The high school sophomore transferred to Bishop Ireton after attending the Minnie Howard campus of T.C. Williams last year as a freshman.
Hutchings said in a statement, “I can confirm that our family made a decision to change my daughter’s school this school year. Decisions like these are very personal family decisions and are not taken lightly. This in no way impacts my absolute lifelong, commitment to public education, to which I remain as personally dedicated as ever.”
Hutchings’ profile on the ACPS website was revised after Theogony asked why it included the statement that, “…he and his wife Cheryl have two school-age children who attend ACPS.” The website now says, “…he and his wife Cheryl have two children.” His Twitter profile was similarly changed from “…dad of two ACPS kids” to “…dad of two kids.”
Bishop Ireton–a school of 784 students, according to its website–does not face the same overcrowding issue T.C. Williams–a school of over 4,000 students–does. The School Board voted in September 2019 under the leadership of Hutchings to expand the size of T.C. through a Connected High School Network by rebuilding Minnie Howard as part of several satellite campuses throughout Alexandria.
The Superintendent, a 1995 T.C. Williams graduate who took over ACPS in July 2018 after serving as the Superintendent of the Shaker Heights Schools in Ohio for five years, headed the School Board’s efforts last summer to decide what learning model ACPS should adopt under the coronavirus pandemic.
Hutchings recently said one of the key factors in the decision to start the year completely virtual was the difficulty of busing students to school. A bus that could normally take 77 students could only hold about 17 under Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, he said.
Hutchings received media attention earlier this year for eliminating the position of former Chief Operating Office Mignon Anthony and the positions of several directors of ACPS departments in a way that alienated some of his staff.
“I have a goal of being the U.S. Secretary of Education, but I can tell you that Alexandria’s not the stepping-stone to get there,” Hutchings told Alexandria Times reporter Cody Mello-Klein.
None of the School Board members contacted by Theogony responded with comments.
Rachel Wilson contributed reporting to this story.