HES Principal Selection

Welcome to our page dedicated to the search for a new Principal at HerUpdates on ndon Elementary School!  Please keep checking back for more updates throughout the year as the process continues. Please contact PTA President Sara Murphy with any questions or suggestions at [email protected]

Update on 5/27/21:

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Candace Hunstad, current principal at Fairhill Elementary School, has been selected as the newCandace Hunstad | Fairhill Elementary School principal of Herndon Elementary School effective July 1, 2021. We thank Interim Principal, Marti Jo Jackson, for her positive leadership throughout this school year. She will continue to serve the Herndon Elementary School community through June 2021. Ms. Hunstad and Ms. Jackson will immediately start collaborating to ensure a smooth transition.

Ms. Hunstad brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the principalship. She has been a highly effective principal within FCPS for the past four years at Fairhill Elementary School. As a leader, Ms. Hunstad builds and sustains strong relationships with students, staff, and parents and works to build partnerships with the total school community. She is driven to provide a rigorous instructional program to all students.  As an instructional leader, Ms. Hunstad led her staff in increasing student achievement and closing achievement gaps. Under her leadership, Fairhill Elementary School received multiple awards including the Virginia Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award, the Virginia Board of Education Purple Star School Designation for demonstrating a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military, and the Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award for demonstrating progress towards excellence and closing gaps in achievement. As a school leader, Ms. Hunstad received three Superintendent’s Excellence in Equity Awards. She was also a nominee for the 2018-2019 FCPS New Principal of the Year Award and a 2020-2021 nominee for the FCPS Principal of the Year Award. Ms. Hunstad is the current President Elect of the Fairfax Association of Elementary School Principals. Ms. Hunstad is dedicated to improving the success of all students, has demonstrated progress toward closing achievement gaps, is a champion for equity, and she is conversationally fluent in Spanish.

Ms. Hunstad is a member of the Herndon community and was an Assistant Principal at Herndon Elementary School prior to her appointment as Principal at Fairhill Elementary School. Ms. Hunstad has over 15 years of experience as a teacher and school administrator.

Ms. Hunstad received her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from Mary Washington University, a Master of Science in Education, Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University, and her endorsement in Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia. Please join me in welcoming Candace Hunstad as the new principal of Herndon Elementary School.


Douglas A. Tyson

Assistant Superintendent, Region 1

Update on 5/18/21:

Last Friday, the Principal Panel met and interviewed potential principals for Herndon Elementary. While no specifics on the candidates can be shared, all of the candidates were extremely well qualified for the position, and Herndon Elementary will be in excellent hands with any of these candidates as our leader.

At this point, the input and recommendations from the panel will be reviewed, and some will be invited to interview with Assistant Superintendent Mr. Douglas Tyson and his team.  Upon his recommendation, any final candidates will be interviewed by FCPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand, who then notifies the school board of his decision.  Finally, Mr. Tyson and his team will schedule a time to introduce the new principal to our staff and community.  We hope to have an announcement of the new principal by mid-June.

Again, all of the candidates presented to the panel were outstanding, and our school community will certainly thrive under the leadership each of them would bring.

If you have any questions about this process, please reach out to Senior Administrative Employment Specialist Adam McGeehan at: [email protected]

Sara Murphy
President, Herndon ES PTA

Update on 4/20/21:

Dear Herndon Elementary School Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

The first step in the process of selecting a principal is to inform staff, parents, and community members about the principal selection process. A meeting was held on Monday, April 19, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. In lieu of a face-to-face meeting, we used Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to connect virtually. Below is the link to the recording of the meeting. Please use the Chrome browser:

Herndon ES Virtual Staff/Community Meeting – recording_1

As we will outlined at Monday’s meeting, there are multiple levels of interviews that will take place in order to select a candidate who is the best fit and match to lead Herndon into the future. A panel interview will be held virtually on Friday, May 14, 2021. The advisory panel will be comprised of three staff and three parent representatives from the Herndon community. If you are interested in serving as a panelist, please submit your information by close of business on April 27, 2021 using the google document here. The Region 1 Leadership Team will review all submissions and select staff and community members to serve as panelists or alternates for these interviews. Individuals selected to serve in this capacity will be contacted by the Human Resources department overseeing this process.

We welcome you to submit your written input as it is a critical component to the principal selection process. We invite you to offer your individual, written input via email regarding the skills, experience, and leadership characteristics needed for Herndon Elementary School. You might also address any challenges or issues that a new principal will need to address. Input is confidential. Below you will see suggestions for input and how you would submit it to the Department of Human Resources before April 27, 2021.

I look forward to working closely with Herndon faculty, staff, parents, and community members during the principal selection process.


Douglas A. Tyson

Assistant Superintendent, Region 1




Fairfax County Public Schools mission is to provide creative, knowledgeable, and talented leadership to ensure student success. To determine the best match for the leadership needs at your school, parent and staff perspectives will be used to screen candidate resumes and develop interview questions. Please provide input detailing the skills, experiences, and leadership characteristics needed at your school. Include challenges and issues that the new principal will need to address. Principal professional skills include instructional leadership, school climate, human resources, organizational management, and communication and community relations.

Please e-mail your input to Adam McGeehan at [email protected]

Update on 11/12/20:

Dear Herndon Elementary Parents and Staff,

I am writing to share an update on the plan to select the next principal for Herndon Elementary School. We started the process last month when we held the community information meeting and asked for your input regarding the characteristics and skills that the new principal should have to lead this community. The next step was to begin panel interviews with the prospective candidates.

Unfortunately, because of our return to school planning and the COVID pandemic I am pausing the process at this point in time. The search will be reactivated in the Spring of this academic year. I want to ensure that when we do begin the panel interviews, we provide adequate time and thoughtful consideration of the candidates as we decide who is the best candidate to lead this wonderful school community.

Several highly qualified candidates have applied for the position and I believe we will have the same number of candidates in the Spring. Knowing many of the candidates are school administrators I would like to allow them to provide the leadership their communities need at this crucial time in the school year as we plan for our return to school.

Principal Fennessy will retire on December 31, 2020. I have selected Ms. Marti Jo Jackson to serve as your interim principal beginning January 4, 2021. Ms. Jackson will remain in place until the permanent principal is selected.

Ms. Jackson has deep connections to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) having served as principal for many years at Frost Middle School. She has also served as an assistant principal and is a veteran teacher as well. Since her retirement she has served successfully as interim principal on several occasions throughout FCPS. Ms. Jackson also serves as an adjunct instructor, university supervisor for teacher interns, and co-presenter at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education at George Washington University.

She loves students and creates great relationships with staff and families. She is excited and energized to support the Herndon Elementary School community. Ms. Jackson and Principal Fennessy will have a robust collaboration period to ensure a smooth transition.

I will be back in touch as soon as we are ready to continue the principal selection process.

Thank you for your support.



Douglas A. Tyson
Assistant Superintendent
Region 1

Update on 11/2/20:

Nominations for the community panel members for the principal interview committee have been received.  The 3 primary and 3 alternate community panel members will be contacted around November 9th.  HR will keep those names confidential. Those who have been asked to serve may identify themselves, but whether or not to share that information is their discretion. No one wants to place anyone in an uncomfortable situation by informing a staff or community of who is serving. For example, if someone were out shopping we wouldn’t want another person who knew they were on the interview panel coming up to them saying, “you need to pick ____” or “why did you pick this person?”

We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.

Update on 10/15/20:

Dear Herndon Elementary Family,

Tuesday night, Douglas Tyson, FCPS Assistant Superintendent for our region, along with Adam McGeehan, from FCPS Human Resources, detailed the process that has begun to replace our wonderful principal, Teresa Fennesy, when she retires in December.  Our local School Board Representative, Elaine Tholan, was also present and has demonstrated her dedication to finding the right fit for the next Principal of Herndon Elementary.The meeting was recorded and the link was sent on 10/14/2020 via email from Pilar Oishi.

You should each have an email dated 10/2/2020 from Pilar Oishi which provides the link to the google document for anyone in the Herndon Elementary community who would like to serve on the principal interview panel.  If you wish to be considered for this panel you must complete the google survey by 10/19/2020.  If you no longer have the email you can access the survey here: https://forms.gle/NVaMapGQu9cPvhuA6.

In addition to recruiting panel candidates, the FCPS Principal Selection Process includes soliciting input from parents, teachers, staff and members of the Herndon Elementary community.  This input does NOT need to be formal.  It can be as simple as:

I think HES needs a principal who is _______.

I want a principal who is knowledgeable about ________.

It is important for our school to have a principal who ___________.

Please send your input to Adam McGeehan at [email protected] NO LATER than Monday, 10/19 and include “Herndon Elementary” in the subject line. The areas where input is requested include:

You should feel free to include any additional information that you feel is pertinent to this selection process including any characteristics your student(s) would like to have in their new principal.

As we enter a time of even more uncertainty with regard to our children’s education please know that I trust FCPS to find us the best candidate for the next Herndon Elementary School Principal.  I look forward to December when the announcement is made and we can warmly welcome our new school leadership and feel confident letting Mrs. Fennesy enjoy her hard-earned retirement.

My “door” is always open if you have ideas, concerns or questions.  Please feel free to reach out to me.

Very sincerely,




Sara Murphy
Herndon Elementary PTA
[email protected]



Estimada familia de Herndon Elementary:

Anoche, Douglas Tyson, Asistente del Superintendente de FCPS para nuestra región, junto a Adam McGeehan, de Recursos Humanos de FCPS, detalló el proceso que ya ha comenzado para reemplazar a nuestra maravillosa directora, Teresa Fennesy, cuando se retira en diciembre. Nuestra Representante Local de la Junta Escolar, Elaine Tholan, también estuvo presente y ha demostrado su dedicación a encontrar la persona adecuada para ser el próximo Director(a) de Herndon Elementary. La reunión fue grabada y el enlace (link) para ver la grabación debe llegarle de FCPS a finales de esta semana.

Cada uno debió haber recibido un correo electrónico con fecha 10/2/2020 de Pilar Oishi que proporciona el enlace al documento de Google para cualquier persona de la comunidad de Herndon Elementary que desee servir en el panel de entrevista para el nuevo director(a).  Si desea ser considerado para este panel debe completar la encuesta de Google antes del 10/19/2020.  Si ya no tiene el correo electrónico puede acceder a la encuesta aquí: https://forms.gle/NVaMapGQu9cPvhuA6.

Además de reclutar candidatos para el panel, el Proceso de Selección de Directores de FCPS incluye solicitar la opinión de padres, maestros, personal y miembros de la comunidad de Herndon Elementary.  La opinión NO necesita ser formal.  Puede ser tan simple como:

Creo que HES necesita un director que sea _______.

Quiero un director que tenga conocimiento de ________.

Es importante que nuestra escuela tenga un director que ___________.

Por favor envíe su opinión a Adam McGeehan a [email protected]  NO MÁS TARDE del lunes, 10/19 e incluya “Herndon Elementary” en la línea de tema/asunto. Las áreas donde se solicita la opinión incluyen:

Usted debe sentirse libre de incluir cualquier información adicional que considere pertinente para este proceso de selección, incluyendo cualquier característica que su(s) estudiante(s) desee tener en su nuevo director(a).

A medida que entramos en un momento de aún más incertidumbre con respecto a la educación de nuestros hijos, por favor sepa que confío en FCPS para encontrarnos el mejor candidato para ser el próximo director(a) de Herndon Elementary School.  Espero con ganas que llegue diciembre cuando se haga el anuncio y podamos dar una calurosa bienvenida a nuestro nuevo líder escolar y sentirnos seguros de dejar que la Sra. Fennesy disfrute de su bien merecida jubilación.

Mi “puerta” siempre está abierta si tiene ideas, inquietudes o preguntas.  Por favor, siéntase libre de comunicarse conmigo.

Muy sinceramente,

Sara Murphy
Herndon Elementary PTA
[email protected]