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MCPS Names New Executive Director of Student Achievement

June 3, 2021 -- The School Board of the City of Manassas has appointed Craig Gfeller (pronounced Guh-feller) as the Executive Director of Student Achievement for Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS). The approval was made during the school board’s special meeting on May 27. Gfeller will begin his new assignment on July 1, replacing Dr. Melissa Saunders, who has been named superintendent of schools in Manassas Park.

“Mr. Gfeller has an impressive background that highlights his ability to provide transformational leadership in schools,” said Dr. Kevin Newman, superintendent of schools. “He has evaluated student achievement and has a proven track record of moving the needle in a positive direction. He will be a great addition to the MCPS family.”

In his role, Gfeller will work collaboratively with the instruction, assessment, and Student Services teams to improve student achievement and instructional practice. He will provide leadership in all prek-12 instructional areas, including but not limited to curriculum alignment, professional development, gifted services, fine arts, advanced placement, career and technical education, world languages, and instructional technology. Gfeller will also provide leadership, support, and evaluation for school administrators.

Gfeller has 18 years of educational experience in Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). He has worked in low-performing schools, where he successfully led efforts to increase student achievement. Gfeller collaboratively transformed Camelot Elementary (FCPS) and West Gate Elementary (PWCS) into Professional learning Communities, resulting in significant gains in student achievement. Due to the demonstrated success at West Gate, in just two years, the school earned a PWCS School of Excellence designation, prompting a visit from the governor of Virginia.

After serving as principal at West Gate Elementary, Gfeller was named associate superintendent for eastern elementary schools for PWCS, where he supervised 16 schools. As associate superintendent, he focused on assisting school leaders in organizing learning and embedding best practices to increase student achievement. Gfeller was instrumental in providing guidance for the lowest-performing schools, which resulted in substantial academic progress.

In addition to serving as an elementary school principal in Fairfax and Prince William counties, Gfeller has experience as an elementary assistant principal at Wolftrap Elementary School and a science teacher at Edison High School and Liberty Middle School.

Gfeller graduated with honors from Cornell University with a bachelor’s in animal science. He received his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech. He earned an education specialist degree and certification in administration and supervision from the University of Virginia. Gfeller also holds licensing as a Virginia superintendent.

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