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Leadership Team

Meet our Principal and Assistant Principals
Penny Hairston

Penny Hairston has been the principal at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School (Douglas MacArthur) since 2020. Mrs. Hairston served as assistant principal for both James K. Polk Elementary School (Polk Elementary) and Douglas MacArthur from 2011-2015 until her full-time appointment as assistant principal at Polk Elementary. She began her career in education in 1996, serving as a fourth and fifth grade teacher who helped to open Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School in 2000. In 2020-2021, Mrs. Hairston was appointed as one of the charter members of the African American Superintendent’s Advisory Council (AASAC), which provides ongoing recommendations to the state superintendent and the Virginia Department of Education. Mrs. Hairston holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and education and received her master’s in educational leadership from the University of Mary Washington.


Paul George
Assistant Principal

Paul George came to Douglas MacArthur Elementary School as an assistant principal in 2022. Mr. George has been an educator for over 30 years, holding positions which included math teacher, technology integration specialist, assistant principal, academic principal and summer school principal. Joining Alexandria City Public Schools in 1996, Mr. George has served in various capacities at schools including, George Washington Middle School, Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, John Adams Elementary School, and Francis C. Hammond Middle School (Hammond) where he also supervised the citywide special education program. During his time at Hammond as part of the administrative team and staff, the school achieved the Virginia Department of Education’s most improved school designation prior to the pandemic. Mr. George also served as an educator in Wilmington, Delaware and Fort Myers, Florida. Mr. George earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with a concentration in education from DeSales University. He earned a Master of Arts degree in religious studies from The Catholic University of America and a graduate certificate in school administration and supervision from Johns Hopkins University. Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His.

Christopher Speich
Assistant Principal

Christopher Speich joined Douglas MacArthur Elementary School as assistant principal in July 2023. In this role, Speich supports the principal in leading the instructional program while ensuring its alignment with Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) regulations for curriculum design and assessment. He also supports the school and works collaboratively with the principal to maintain the educational programs consistent with community characteristics and school division goals and practices. As assistant principal, Speich provides and promotes a state-of-the-art curriculum and superior instructional delivery for the success of all students. 

Speich was previously the campus administrator at Alexandria City High School (ACHS), taking on the role after serving as acting campus administrator. Speich first joined ACPS in 2011. He served as lead administrator specialized instruction (9-12) at ACHS, lead assistant principal at Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, dean of students at George Washington Middle School and teacher and department chair and STEM Academy founder/coordinator at T.C. Williams High School (now ACHS). He also was an assistant football/baseball coach at the high school.

Speich earned a Bachelor of Science in political science and a Master of Science in education at Radford University in Virginia. He has a postgraduate professional license in history and social science education (6-12), and a post-master's certificate in educational leadership and administration (administration and supervision PreK-12) from The George Washington University. Additional training and certification include the Harvard Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools (RIDES) Intensive Clinic; the Virginia Department of Education Summer Series; Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Certified; and AP World History Training and Certification from the College Board.