ACPS names new West End elementary school principal

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(Photo courtesy Alexandria City Public Schools)
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By Missy Schrott | mschrott@alextimes.com

Interim Superintendent Dr. Lois Berlin appointed Rachael Dischner, who is already an ACPS employee, as the principal of the new West End elementary school at 1701 N. Beauregard St., ACPS announced Thursday morning.

The appointment comes two months after ACPS named John B. Murphy as the new principal and then withdrew the decision a week later. Multiple news stories revealed Murphy had been accused of misconduct toward students, teachers and faculty at multiple schools in different states.

The incident called into question ACPS’s vetting process. After ACPS chose not to proceed with Murphy, Lloyd said the vetting process was thorough and included a full internet search of any candidate. Full details of ACPS’ vetting process haven’t been made available.

In the aftermath of Murphy, Berlin appointed a candidate ACPS was already familiar with; Dischner has been principal of the new pre-K center at John Adams Elementary School since June.

“In our search for a principal for the West End Elementary School, it became clear that we already had a leader within ACPS who is an ideal match for this role,” Berlin said in a statement.

Before moving to the position at the pre-K center, Dischner was an assistant principal at Randolph Elementary School in Arlington Public Schools and a special education coordinator for Child Find in Arlington, a part of APS’ student services and special education program. She has a master’s degree in educational leadership from George Mason University and a certificate in special education from California Lutheran University.

Dischner has been working with school administrators and ACPS facilities staff on the physical and instructional design for both the pre-K center and the new elementary school, according to a release.

“My role as the principal of the new school is a natural extension of the work that I’ve been doing over the past several months towards the creation of the pre-K center,” Dischner said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing my work with administrators and families in the West End as we bring the school online next fall.”

Dischner will start her new role on Jan. 2. The new West End school is set to open for the 2018-19 school year.

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