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School Principal Search

Christopher F. Finan has been named principal of George Mason Elementary School, effective July 31, 2023.

July 20, 2023

Dear George Mason Elementary School Staff, 

I am thrilled and humbled to introduce myself as the new principal of George Mason Elementary School (George Mason). It is with great excitement and anticipation that I join this wonderful school community. My first day will be July 31, 2023.

George Mason is a testament to the positive impact that a skilled and dedicated staff, collaborative community and mission-driven approach can have on student achievement. I am eager to contribute my knowledge, experience and passion to the work that you do and have done for quite some time to help guide and shape the future of our students. This appointment represents an incredible opportunity for me to continue my commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of elementary school students, and I couldn’t be more honored to take on this responsibility and work alongside you. 

As we embark on this journey together, I am excited to continue fostering an enriching education for every student and upholding George Mason’s mission and values. I truly look forward to being part of the George Mason team as well as getting to know each and every one of you! 

Thank you for your warm welcome, and I eagerly anticipate getting started with you on the new school year ahead. In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy every minute of summer vacation that remains! 

Warm regards, 

Chris Finan

Stakeholder Communications

June 27, 2023

Dear George Mason Elementary School Community, 

The time has come to select the next principal for George Mason Elementary School (GMES). We look forward to working with staff, parents, students and the broader school community to find and retain the best candidate for this important position. Family and community involvement in this process is crucial. 

The position has been posted, and I have asked John Porter and Rene Paschal to assist with the search and hiring process. Some of you may know Mr. Porter as he has served in many roles in ACPS, including as high school principal and assistant superintendent, before retiring in 2009. Mr. Paschal currently serves as our acting executive director of Human Resources and had previously served as the principal of Samuel Tucker Elementary School before transitioning to his current role. 

The online survey is one of the first steps in this search process. The team will use your thoughts and comments to develop a Principal Leadership Profile which will help guide candidates and interview panels throughout the process. 

Parents/guardians and staff will also have representation on interview panels as the process narrows the candidate field to two finalists who will be invited to meet-and-greet webinars to be scheduled separately with staff and the George Mason community.  After the meet and greet sessions, GMES staff, families and community members will be encouraged to provide thoughts and comments about the finalists via a Google form that will be provided at the webinars and shared online via the GMES website. Input from stakeholders will be compiled and shared with me prior to a final decision being confirmed.

We expect to have a new principal in place before the start of the new school year. 

The GMES principal search webpage will include important documents and updates throughout this process—job description, timeline, principal leadership profile and other updates. I encourage you to check this webpage regularly for important information. You may also contact  or with questions as this work proceeds.

We look forward to engaging you in this process as we move George Mason Elementary School forward to its next exciting chapter in support of our amazing students.


Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt
Interim Superintendent of Schools

Leadership Profile: Principal—George Mason Elementary School

Search Timeline

  • June 26, 2023—Principal letter to community/communicate process to stakeholders and post job description

  • June 26, 2023— Post online survey for staff, parents, students, and community members.

  • June 29, 2023—Online survey closes.

  • July 3, 2023—Post Leadership Profile based on survey results. Application review to select five to seven candidates for first round panel interviews.

  • July 10, 2023—First Round Panel Interviews. The goal is to narrow the field of candidates for second round interviews.

  • July  12, 2023—Second Round Panel Interviews. The goal is to narrow the field to two finalists.  

  • July 13, 2023—Finalists Meet and Greet Staff and PTA/Community. Two separate virtual webinars are held.  The community webinar is posted online for three days.

  • July 13-15, 2023—Staff and parents/community provide feedback on finalists from virtual meet and greet sessions.

  • July 17, 2023—Individual interviews of two finalists with the superintendent of schools.

  • July 20, 2023—ACPS Special Called School Board Meeting.