The Fredericksburg School Board has approved a reorganization that affects most of the school division’s central office administrative positions.

The changes were approved at the board’s Monday meeting, a little over a week after former division superintendent David Melton’s sudden retirement became effective.

Interim superintendent Marci Catlett, whose appointment was approved June 27, said the changes were made necessary by the departure of Chief Academic Officer Harry Thomas.

Thomas’s appointment as superintendent of Essex County Schools was announced Monday.

“We are congratulating him and seeing this as an opportunity to do some administrative adjustments at the central office, some of which were already under study,” Catlett said.

With the 2019–20 school year starting Aug. 12, Catlett said she did not feel there was enough time to interview external applicants for Thomas’s position.

Lori Bridi, who has been director of assessment and accountability, is the division’s new chief academic officer.

She will supervise Sonya Walsh, who is now director of instruction, and Sandra Gillenwater, who was an assistant principal at Hugh Mercer Elementary and is now supervisor of instruction.

Catlett said the changes will provide more oversight of the division’s International Baccalaureate programs and SOL testing.

Michael George, who has been the director of technology, is now chief operations and information officer. He will supervise Joshua Long, who was technology supervisor and is now director of technology.

Catlett said updating the school division’s website and social media presence will be a priority for those positions.

Jonathan Russ, who has been chief administrative officer, will move into the role of interim deputy superintendent.

One central office position will be vacant as of Aug. 1, when chief financial officer David Baker leaves the division for Louisa County schools.

“We plan to start interviewing for that position next week,” Catlett said.

Catlett also said that longtime Hugh Mercer Elementary principal Marjorie Tankersley will be retiring at the end of December. 

Kimberly Doucette has been hired as associate principal at Hugh Mercer to shadow Tankersley and take over from her in January. 

She comes to City Schools from the position of education director at the VA Treatment Center, a state-operated program in Richmond.

Catlett said the goal of the central office reorganization is to “empower our administrative team and build unity.”

“We want to keep the organization moving forward and upward and have [an administrative team] in place for the new school year,” she said.

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Adele Uphaus-Conner: 540/735-1973 auphaus@freelancestar.com @flsadele