Fairfax County schools expands principal search in the wake of harassment controversy

Fairfax County Public Schools is expanding its search for a principal at Lake Braddock Secondary School.

The school has been without a permanent principal since a massive sexual harassment scandal forced the girls basketball coach and some administration to resign.

The now-nationwide principal search comes amid a federal investigation into the school's handling of Title IX claims.

Lake Braddock's former principal Dave Thomas abruptly announced his immediate retirement in February and despite a rotating interim principal cast, the school district has been unable to fill the spot -- finally deciding to open the search nationwide.

Lake Braddock is the largest secondary school in Fairfax County.

School board member Elizabeth Schultz says a nationwide search for a principal is atypical.

Usually, the goal is to fill these administration positions from within.

Thomas served for more than a decade at Lake Braddock and nearly three decades with Fairfax County Public Schools.

An ongoing 2015 federal complaint indicates the school received complaints against former girls' basketball coach John Giannelli. He is accused of verbal sexual harassment against the team's players and resigned March 2016.

FOX 5 has been told the school has had three interim principals since the shakeup in February.

The district is reportedly reaching out to universities and African American and Latino educator organizations.

Staff meetings took place all day on Wednesday to discuss this process in addition to a community meeting held Wednesday night.

There are two more meetings scheduled -- next Wednesday with staff, and then the following Monday evening with the community to get more feedback.

The salary for this position would reportedly be higher than the average high school principal salary, which is around $150,000 a year.