T Photograph by Kevin G. Reeves
here’s an unmistakable confidence that radiates from Dr. Gregory C.
Hutchings, Jr. It’s a confidence that he awakened as a seven-year-old boy who was
elevated to the role of man of the house when his parents divorced. He cultivated it
as a teenager when he circulated a petition in high school to convince his teachers
that indeed, he belonged in honors-level classes.
And now, as Dr. Hutchings prepares to depart his career’s first
superintendency at the Shaker Schools, he will take with him a confidence that’s
tempered by a newfound humility he welcomes and an authenticity he embraces.
In three months, Dr. Hutchings, his wife Cheryl, and their two children will return
to his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, where he will become the superintendent of
Alexandria City Public Schools in suburban Washington, D.C. It’s a district of 16 schools
with a culturally and socioeconomically diverse student population that’s nearly three
times larger than the Shaker Schools enrollment.
“Shaker has brought out the best in me,” says the 40-year-old Hutchings.
“I’ve always had certain qualities, but our community has pushed me to be the
best that I can be. And when you’re trying to be the best that you can be, you’re
pulling from everything within you. That’s what I was pushed to do here.”
The results of Dr. Hutchings’ and his team’s work are remarkable for someone
who was a first-time superintendent, who built a new team of administrators,
and who is young by superintendent standards (the mean age of a superintendent
in the United States is between 54 and 55 years old and the mean tenure for a
superintendent is just more than five years, according to the American Association
of School Administrators).
“It’s gratifying to reflect on how much ground has been covered during Dr.
42 SPRING 2018 | WWW.SHAKER.LIFE
Hutchings’ tenure,” says Board of
Education president Jeffrey Isaacs.
“We're on firm fiscal footing, we're
investing in our physical plant, we're
offering IB-aligned high-quality pre-K,
we've added to our AP offerings at
the High School, we've adopted IB
District-wide, we've greatly enhanced
professional development, and the
list goes on. Dr. Hutchings leaves the
district in the hands of capable leaders
committed to continuing the wonderful
work already under way here.”
Despite these accomplishments,
Dr. Hutchings acknowledges that
his decisions have not always been
popular, but he has remained true to
his mission: to achieve the goals that
the Board of Education set forth for
him. And perhaps just as important,
he has remained true to the District’s
aspirations for all students: excellence,
equity, and exploration.