ASHBURN, Va. (DC News Now) — There’s a new leader of Loudoun County Public Schools after months of controversy and scandal for the division.

Daniel Smith, who previously served as LCPS’ chief of staff, is now its acting superintendent. After a special board meeting on Thursday evening, Smith did not indicate if he would pursue the position permanently. The school district plans to launch a nationwide search and then have a permanent superintendent start by July 1, 2023.

Smith was confirmed on a 6-1 vote, with Tiffany Polifko the only board member to oppose the nomination. This vote came two days after the unanimous firing of then-Superintendent Scott Ziegler.

“I firmly believe that we as a school board must demand that the person in charge of running our school system, the superintendent, hold accountable the individuals that were involved,” she said. “[Smith] will be overseeing people who were [involved]. And it’s critical that the person assuming that role will take the necessary steps to display the leadership that is so needed in this school system right now.”

The school board’s chair and vice chair, Jeff Morse and Ian Serotkin respectively, addressed reporters for the first time since a scathing report from a special grand jury — which was convened to investigate how one student was able to commit two sexual assaults at two county high schools less than six months apart — was unsealed.

That report found the division “failed at all junctures” and the second assault “could have, and should have, been prevented.”

“We know that we have a lot of issues that we’d like to address,” Morse said. “We know we need to address them immediately and restore the faith.”

The report also found LCPS had a “culture of fear” which Smith said he’ll work to address.

“We need to continue to talk to our folks about how they feel,” he said.

Loudoun Education Association President Sandy Sullivan told DC News Now this can be a new beginning.

“We’re moving forward from here,” she said. “It’s clear that there’s been safety issues, there’s been concern issues, and there’s been a lack of respect for employees.”

For some parents, including Scott Mineo with Parents Against Critical Theory (PACT), a shift at the top and a change in culture aren’t enough.

When asked if more personnel changes need to happen, Mineo said, “Big time. The two administrators at least, and the two principals.”

No other administrators aside from Ziegler have lost their jobs since the report came out. When asked if he would fire any other administrators, Smith declined to comment, saying he’ll “take a look” with the intent to better the division. Right now, the school division is focusing on a new start and an opportunity under Smith to address its problems.

“[Smith] was not present during any of the incidents that occurred,” Morse said. “He has provided leadership within the division and continued to work forward as we’ve been in utter turmoil.”