The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Meeting the New Superintendent: Dr. Kay-Wyatt

Meeting+the+New+Superintendent%3A+Dr.+Kay-Wyatt

Sarah Porter

Staff Writer

After a tumultuous school year, Alexandria City Public School’s Superintendent Gregory Hutchings announced on June 10 that he would not renew his contract after nearly four years. His official resignation came into effect on August 31. Starting September 1, Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt has served as the interim superintendent, and she will continue in her role through the 22-23 school year or until the school board can appoint an eligible candidate into the permanent position. 

Dr. Kay-Wyatt received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Mary Washington College. Additionally, she holds a Master of Education from Old Dominion University, as well as a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Dr. Kay-Wyatt began her work in education as a Principal at Fredericksburg City Schools, serving for seven years from 2011 to 2018. Starting in May of 2018, Dr. Kay-Wyatt transferred to the Spotsylvania County School system, acting as Director of Human Resources until July 2021. From there, Dr. Kay-Wyatt brought her experience to Alexandria City High School. “[My former] experience provides me with the perspective to look at our schools and educational system from many lenses, and I feel it informs my core approach today as a data-based, student-centered, collaborative and equity-focused leader,” said Dr. Kay-Wyatt. 

Dr. Kay-Wyatt says her vision for the school year is for “all of our students in ACPS to learn, thrive and grow during this school year and to feel safe and supported within our school community.” After the chaos of the past several years, she wants the school to commit to completing unfinished learning and aiding students in their social-emotional and academic learning. “We want our students to come to school every day happy to be here, excited about learning, and ready to work with their teachers and classmates,” she said. 

In the final weeks of his contract, Dr. Hutchings proposed several changes for the high school, such as permanently removing class rank and barring teachers from assigning graded homework. Though these changes were not passed, they reflected the ACPS mission to strive for racial equity. After recent social movements have emphasized the need for racial equity in education, ACPS embraced a new mission statement— one that focused on “academic excellence and educational equity.” Dr. Hutchings strongly pushed forth this new initiative in his policies to build a more racially equitable school system. 

Dr. Kay-Wyatt holds a similar interpretation of the ACPS focus on equity. As part of ACPS’ 2025 Strategic Plan of ‘Equity for All,’ ACPS is committed to fostering an environment of inclusion and belonging through racial equity and practicing anti-racism. “[We are] strategically working to dismantle systemic barriers that continue to perpetuate the disproportionality that our data continues to show us. We are a diverse community of learners and educators who all deserved to be valued and respected for who we are and what we bring to the table,” said Dr. Kay-Wyatt.

As part of her policies toward implementing racial equity and anti-racism, Dr. Kay Wyatt seeks to prepare teachers and staff to support students through equity and anti-racism training sessions. Furthermore, Dr. Kay-Wyatt aims to bring student agency to the forefront through providing them the grounds to voice their opinion. “[We] will work with established student groups to expand their knowledge, engage in and embrace the goal of inclusion and belonging for each individual,” said Dr. Kay-Wyatt.

Recently, the student body has held a shared feeling that the administration has failed to listen and understand students’ issues. Dr. Kay-Wyatt plans to bridge the gap between student input and administrative policies through visiting schools regularly and listening to the opinions of students and staff. She values the student representatives on the school board, who represent their schools at school board meetings. “I know the School Board joins me in our appreciation of our student representatives on the [School Board], and we learn from them every week about what they see and hear about in our schools,” said Dr. Kay-Wyatt.

Overall, as this year still suffers from the setbacks of the pandemic, Dr. Kay-Wyatt sees this year as crucial to addressing unfinished learning, supporting students’ social-emotional and academic needs and advancing the mission of the 2025 ‘Equity for All’ Strategic Plan. To achieve this, Dr. Kay-Wyatt believes it is essential that the school implement important programs such as SEAL (social-emotional and academic Learning) lessons to ensure students receive support for their well-being. “I want every student and family to know that we are here to work with them and do all we can to establish welcoming learning environments in which all students can thrive,” said Dr. Kay-Wyatt. 

During her time so far as interim superintendent, Dr. Kay-Wyatt has loved collaborating with administrators and students. “It has been wonderful to really dig deep into critical issues with our ACPS leadership, to work with the School Board and visit schools to see first-hand the great work going on in our school,” said Dr. Kay-Wyatt. 

Though Dr. Kay-Wyatt recognizes not everyone will agree with her ideas on school issues, she is grateful for the support she has received and the deep connection she has built with families, staff, and community partners. 

“It has become evident to me how deeply everyone in our school community cares about our schools and our students,” said Dr. Kay-Wyatt. “I am thankful for the opportunity to serve ACPS as interim superintendent,”

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Meeting the New Superintendent: Dr. Kay-Wyatt