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FCPS Superintendent Jack Dale to Retire in 2013

Schools chief has had a rough couple of years with budget, discipline issues.

Fairfax County Superintendent Jack D. Dale announced Thursday he will retire when his contract ends in June 2013.

Dale has been at the helm of the 175,000-student school system as it has recently weathered issues such as a budget shortfall and an ongoing issue with the system's discipline policy.

He has been in the position for seven years.

Dales retirement will be effective July 1, 2013, at the end of his current contract.

"I have served an extraordinary 42 years in public education, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to lead this world-class school system,” Dale said in a statement.

"In my mind, there is no other school system that has the same level of commitment of its school board, engagement of its community and parents, and talents and skills of its employees,” he said. “I look forward to spending more time with my three grandchildren and family on both the East and West coasts and pursuing my personal interests as a pilot, reader, and golfer. I also hope to contribute to public education in some way. For the next year and a half, however, I will be focused on helping our new school board craft the direction that will guide our system for the next decade."

Dale's tenure has included maintaining the standards of education for which FCPS is known while creating a streamlined central office with hundreds of fewer positions and generating efficiencies throughout the school system.

Initiatives launched under Dale included the priority schools initiative, which drives additional support to those schools that need it most to reach their student achievement goals, and the teacher leadership program, which provided extended teacher contracts designed to promote teamwork, improve instruction, and raise student achievement.

“Jack Dale’s leadership will be sorely missed,” school board chair Janie Strauss said in a statement. “He moved the School Board and FCPS forward as we developed our strategic governance initiative, which made us more effective governors of this school system.

" In addition, his collaborative and collegial style has been a welcome approach to handling tough issues and challenges we faced. I personally hope that, after he retires, he will stay connected to public education for the benefit of students and educators everywhere.”

Dale became FCPS Superintendent in July 2004. From 1996 to June 2004, he served as superintendent of Frederick (MD) County Public Schools,  where he was named Maryland's superintendent of the year.

Dale has served in education as a teacher of mathematics, assistant principal, director of instruction, director of personnel, and associate superintendent for school administration.

Born in Seattle, he holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education; a master's in educational administration; and a doctorate in education, with an emphasis on school leadership and organizational change, from the University of Washington.

Dale's announcement comes weeks before a high-stakes school board election. Half of the 12 incumbents, including Hunter Mill rep Stuart Gibson, are not seeking re-election this fall.

In an e-mail to FCPS employees, Dale says there is lots of work to do over the next year and nine months.

"I intend to stay very focused on our priorities and initiatives," he wrote. "One of my next jobs will be to get the new School Board acclimated and oriented to crafting a direction for FCPS over the next decade. I know you will help support this effort as well.  

"So … no goodbyes yet! We still have a lot of work to do and I intend to have my sleeves rolled up until June 30, 2013." 

John Farrell September 27, 2011 at 07:57 PM
In a jurisdiction of 1 million people and in a magisterial district of 110,000, candidates, and voters, tend to rely on the sample ballots handed out by the parties at the polling place. Especially for offices which are found at the bottom of the ballot, as School Board races are. Running as an independent without the party sample ballot, and the other party infrastructure, is overwhelming as Ralph Cooper found out and Steve Stubin is finding out. And Steve has the benefit (from and electoral point of the view only, people) of heightened named recognition obtained from press coverage of his horrific tragedy. No doubt Steve would trade that advantage in an instant to have Nick back as would we all. I very much doubt will School Board races will ever be non-partisan. For the first time since School Board became an elected position in 1995, this may be the first year that they are more prominent than all of the other electoral races on the ballot which will be a very good for our schools and our kids.
KB September 27, 2011 at 10:42 PM
I could answer this question with absolute confidence, yet I am so exhausted from the topic of Dr. Dale that I'd rather not open a can of worms. Needless to say, it's not an answer you'd want to hear.
KB September 27, 2011 at 10:48 PM
You are absolutely spot on with the Jay Mathews assessment...his index is based on a simple, if not inane calculation - divide the number of AP, IB or other college-level tests gien by the number of graduating seniors. And THIS is why FCPS continues to tout it's AP course enrollment numbers, etc. RIDICULOUS!
Marta D. Saltus September 27, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Thank you, KB. I have friends who are teachers and tell me what is going on is not what should be going on; one of them is getting students from AA in middle school that cannot complete a math assignment; you can fill in the blanks...
Marta D. Saltus September 27, 2011 at 11:07 PM
I thought I would add a link to an article addressing the achievement gap in minority populations, another topic of severe failure on the part of our current School Board: http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/education/education-features/2011/09/26/ditching-the-diploma/comment-page-1/#comment-39621

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