Kerry Washington to Voice Bart's New Teacher in Her 'Simpsons' Debut: 'Can't Wait'

The voice actress who played Bart Simpson's former teacher, Edna Krabappel, died in 2013

Kerry Washington
Photo: Dia Dipasupil/WireImage/Getty; FOX

It's safe to say Bart Simpson's classroom shenanigans are handled.

The Simpsons retired the trouble-making 4th grader's teacher, Edna Krabappel, in 2013 after voice actress Marcia Wallace's death. Nearly 9 years later, the beloved animated series has found its permanent replacement in Kerry Washington.

The 45-year-old Scandal alum will lend her voice to Rayshelle Peyton on a recurring basis, making her debut in the role on Sunday.

"Ms. Peyton handles Bart Simpson. Sunday!!!!!!" she tweeted. "Can't wait!"

Teasing the new role, Washington spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Ms. Peyton being "a great teacher."

"But like all the best teachers, she knows that her students have just as much to teach her as she has to teach them," she continued. "And teaching Bart is a job filled with growth opportunities."

The long-running Fox series previously bid farewell to Edna during a season 25 episode. Since then, Willem Dafoe and Sofia Vergara have entered Bart's classroom at Springfield Elementary School to guest star as his teacher.

Even his neighbor Ned Flanders (voiced by Harry Shearer) — who was married to Edna in the show's later seasons — became Bart's teacher in a season 29 episode.

"I don't know why we've been putting it off," co-executive producer Carolyn Omine, who wrote Washington's debut episode, told EW of replacing Edna. "I do miss our dear Marcia, and I think there was a little sadness and reluctance to do it, but it's been nine years."

Omine continued, "We would have a conversation at least once a year, maybe every other year. We couldn't really decide, and we couldn't really agree. There just wasn't the inspired thought — until we came upon this [with Kerry]."

Edna The Simpsons

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An influx of animated shows' white voice actors stopped voicing characters of color in 2020, including The Simpsons' Hank Azaria. At the time, Washington declared her interest in taking on an animated role as she tweeted: "Dear animators looking for black voices... I'm avail."

Because of this, Omine said: "That just got it into my head. I began thinking, 'Maybe she could be the new teacher. We've had this spot.' I talked with [executive producer] Matt Selman, and we decided to write it with her in mind."

The Simpsons premiered in 1989 and is currently on its 33rd season. New episodes air Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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