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Karen Garza’s vision: the irresistible force meeting and moving the immovable object of Fairfax County Public Schools?

Karen Garza is a good listener. And once she’s listened, she is, admittedly, not very patient. “If there's a real issue, I don't think it has to be debated for 10 or 15 years,” Garza said in an interview. “Either we're going to do something about it or not.”

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View from Texas: Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza

“When I hired Karen in 2005,” former Superintendent of Houston Independent School District (HISD) Dr. Abelardo Saavedra said, “the position of chief academic officer had been open several months. I went looking for her. I’d never met her but I’d heard about her. There is a big difference between a mid-sized district and a larger one; the dynamics are completely different. I was taking a risk because she came from a mid-sized one of about 40,000 in Corpus Christi, and ours was much bigger. She adjusted very quickly.”

Fairfax County Public Schools Needing Community’s Help

Superintendent Karen Garza begins and ends her Listening Tour meetings with a plea to those in the room — parents, teachers, employees, unions — to help her achieve what needs to be done for their school system. “I am going to need your help,” she says to audiences who voice concerns about class size, resources for special education, and teacher salaries.

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza Bio

Current Position: Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent

Timeline of Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza’s career in education.

1986-1991: Elementary School Teacher, Yoakum, Texas (1,539 students, 38% white and 50% Latino and spends about $8,000 per pupil).