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."