Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Willie Bailey, a former City Councilman, has resigned from the Alexandria City School Board effective Nov. 30. He was first elected to the School Board in November 2021 after having served on the City Council from 2016 to 2019.
“It was the right thing to do for me,” said Bailey, who recently lost his brother Gary following the death of his father last year. “This is not a decision I made lightly.”
A resident of Del Ray since the age of 5, Bailey was raised in public housing and attended ACPS public schools. He is a 21-year military veteran and for more than 30 years served as Deputy Chief of the Office of the Fire Marshall with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
“I was honored to be chosen by the voters for the opportunity to serve on the Alexandria City School Board, and I thank the community for your trust and confidence,” Bailey said in a statement. “I wish the School Board and superintendent much success in achieving the goals of the 2025 strategic plan and supporting students to be successful in life, college and career.”
During his tenure on the School Board, Bailey was part of the selection process for the new superintendent, which led to the appointment of Melanie Kay-Wyatt to the position.
A Living Legend of Alexandria, Bailey founded the nonprofit Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue more than 25 years ago. The organization supplies thousands of children in Northern Virginia with backpacks, school supplies, new coats and gifts during the holiday season.
Bailey is a member of the Board of Trustees for Operation Warm, the largest nonprofit children's coat distributor in the U.S., and serves on numerous local boards and commissions, including Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Educational Opportunities for Alexandrians and Carpenter’s Shelter.
In 2003 Bailey earned the Positive African American Men Award from Christians in Action. In 2005 Alexandria City Schools presented him with the Business and School Partnership Award and Commerce Bank named him Hometown Hero. Firehouse Magazine recognized him with its Heroism and Community Service Award.
Other honors include the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Award and the county fire department’s highest award, Career Firefighter of the Year. In 2007, he earned Fairfax County’s highest award for county employees, the A. Heath Onthank Award. In 2010 the NAACP of Northern Virginia honored him with its Community Service Award. In 2011 he earned Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services Award. And in 2012 the Rotary Club of Tysons Corner named him the 2012 Citizen of the Year.
“On behalf of all members of the Alexandria City School Board, I want to thank Willie Bailey for his service on the Board and for his deep commitment to the children and families in the City of Alexandria,” said Board Chair Michelle Rief in a statement announcing Bailey’s resignation. “There is a reason that Mr. Bailey has received Alexandria’s Living Legends award, given his long-standing dedication to ensuring our students have the community supports they need to learn and thrive.”
Following Bailey’s departure at the end of the month, the School Board will petition the Circuit Court to order a special election to fill the vacant seat as required by the Alexandria City Charter. The election is expected to take place in early 2024.