DC Leadership Update

Allison Fansler, President

Earlier this week we shared with the DC community that, after 16 years, Allison Fansler will be transitioning out of her role as president at the end of this school year.

Below you will find the email in which she shared the news and some reflections on this important juncture in her career and our organization’s history. Allison’s impact on the DC community speaks for itself, having led our HDQ team since 2006 and helping us build this incredible network of schools across the District of Columbia. We feel so lucky to have been on this journey with her and grateful for her dedication over the years.

Susan Schaeffler will remain in place as CEO and work with the Board of Directors to develop a plan for an engagement, search, and selection process that surfaces a candidate who can bring a fresh perspective and help us lead DC into the future. We will be gathering input on the president candidate profile and job description, and will conduct a full national search with the help of an external executive recruiter.

Thank you to Allison for her remarkable leadership and commitment over the years!


Dear DC friends, investors, & partners —

I hope that 2022 is off to a wonderful start for you and full of new hope and opportunity.

I wanted to reach out with a bit of personal news. After 16 wonderful years at DC, I will be transitioning out of my role as president at the end of this school year. This was a decision I made in 2019, in partnership with Susan and the board of directors, to plan a thoughtful transition over the past three years, with a planned departure in the summer of 2022. And while the last few years have been so different than any of us anticipated, I believe transitions can bring a fresh set of eyes and experiences to leadership and help look forward to the future.

The opportunity to serve in this role has been the honor of a lifetime. I joined in 2006 when we had two middle schools, and the job in front of me was to design a plan for expanding to early childhood through high school, recruit the board, secure the funding, and build the organization that would support a network of schools. I set out to grow us from a small start-up to a public education institution in DC, and while the work was hard, the winds were behind us. Sixteen years later, I look around our network, and at times I can hardly believe how far we have come. Over the past year, two moments in particular have crystallized this for me.

The first moment was during . After such a challenging year, it was a gift to even be able to have a ceremony, and I was caught up in the excitement of the day. At some point, I realized that more than 25 of the students graduating that day were the 4-year olds who had started with us at LEAP Academy in 2007. The plan I had envisioned in 2006 became so real at that moment. I felt so much pride – the same experienced by our families and teachers and leaders and partners – in our incredible students, and so much gratitude for all the work put in by so many to bring that plan to life and see that initial class of sters thrive.

The second moment was watching our Legacy College Prep Bulldogs move into their brand new building last week. Securing the Ferebee-Hope campus and building a second high school and recreation center in partnership with the community was such an incredible team effort and felt like such a capstone for my time at DC. Knowing our Legacy students now have a school that is as beautiful as their dreams and aspirations truly brings me joy and appreciation.

Over the past several years, as I have anticipated this transition, I had several priorities. The first was to guide the organization through our 2025 strategic planning process to build a plan for the future. With the plan in place, the work has been to ensure we have strong leaders poised to achieve our five-year ambition, and have the people and resources aligned to reimagine the future of DC. Finally, because the plan certainly did not anticipate a pandemic, my priority has been to keep us steady and stable through our COVID response. I could not be prouder of our team, our partners, and our supporters, and how our organization has responded to take care of each other, students, and families. I am just so inspired by the work we have done together, and even more by what lies ahead.

Susan will remain in place as CEO, and she has been incredibly supportive as I think about my next chapter, as well as this inflection point for DC. We are so grateful to have each of you supporting our schools, thriving despite the many challenges we face in the world right now. As I think about this group of dedicated friends and supporters, I see so many people bursting with ideas as to how to make things better for the students of Washington, DC. I am grateful that you bring those ideas, energy, and talent to our work and I know that DC is lucky for your partnership.

The president position oversees many of the non-instructional functions of the organization, coordinates efforts across those functions, drives organizational strategy, directs the staffing and resourcing of our organization, and manages many key institutional relationships and partnerships, including our board of directors. Our board and executive team are working closely with Susan to develop a plan for an engagement, search, and selection process that allows for many perspectives and voices to be included.

This week, we will kick off the critical internal and external engagement to define the candidate profile, shape a job description, and launch a national search and selection process for a new president. We hope to post for the position in mid-February and conduct a full national search for a candidate with the help of an external executive recruiter who understands the context of our work in education and our local communities. Please reach out to me and Susan with any questions, thoughts, and of course, any strong candidates for our new president role.

It has been a pleasure to work alongside each of you. I continue to be inspired by your generous support and friendship, and am grateful for you all as you continue to partner with DC into the future.


Allison Fansler
DC Public Schools

Posted on January 20, 2022 in Community