Jack Dale, Fairfax County Schools Superintendent, announces retirement

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

Dale has been in charge of the system, ranked among some of the best in the nation, { }for seven years, but has faced plenty of criticism over the District’s discipline policy, which some parent called too harsh.

"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 released Thursday.

“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.”

The 62-year-old made the announcement Thursday. Dale took over the 175,000-student school system - the largest in the Washington area - in 2004.

Under Dale, Fairfax has preserved its national reputation for high achievement among large school systems. The dropout rate has decreased, state math and reading test scores have risen and achievement gaps have narrowed.

Dale began his career in the 1970s as a high school math teacher, and spent eight years as superintendent of schools in Frederick County, Md.