2018-05-23 / Front Page

James Lane to become state superintendent

Fairheart to serve as interim CCPS superintendent
By Rich Griset

James LaneJames LaneChesterfield County Public Schools Superintendent James Lane has been named State Superintendent of Public Instruction by Gov. Ralph Northam. Rusty Fairchild, the school system’s chief of staff, will begin serving as interim CCPS superintendent effective June 1.

Since arriving at CCPS two years ago, Lane has overseen several changes within the school system, including an overhaul of the school start time schedule, the move to year-round schooling for Bellwood Elementary, a resolution to the system’s beleaguered supplemental retirement plan and the establishment of a committee to address issues of inequality within the system. Lane previously served as superintendent in Goochland County, during which he was named the Virginia Superintendent of the Year.

Taking his place on an interim basis is Rusty Fairheart, who has overseen day-to-day operations of the division as chief of staff since 2016. Before coming to Chesterfield, Fairheart served as executive director of the multijurisdictional Southeastern Cooperative Education Program in Norfolk and served as superintendent for Middlesex County from 2007 to 2011.

“The School Board is excited to have a leader with Mr. Fairheart’s credentials ready to continue our important work,” said School Board Chair and Dale District representative John Erbach in a statement. “Since joining us, Mr. Fairheart has immersed himself in our school division’s efforts, and we have full confidence in his ability to close out the current school year strong and continue preparations for the 2018-19 school year.”

Fairheart holds a master’s in business education from Old Dominion University, a master’s of art from Hampton University, a post-master’s certification in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University, a bachelor’s in business administration from Radford University and has taken coursework for a doctorate of educational policy and leadership from Virginia Tech. Fairheart began his career as a special education teacher with SECEP (Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs) and as an instructional specialist for York County Public Schools. He later served as an assistant director of special education and director of assessment for Gloucester County Public Schools.

“I am humbled to be chosen to lead a school division already recognized as a state and national leader in public education,” said Fairheart in a statement. “Every day, my primary focus will be on how we can best support each student and every staff member in our award-winning school division. Serving as chief of staff has allowed me to work closely with the School Board, and I am keenly aware of the expectations our community has for this school division.”

In the press release announcing the change, School Board members lauded both Lane and Fairheart.

“Chesterfield County Public Schools is highly respected across our great state, and we are proud that the governor has chosen our own superintendent for state leadership,” said Midlothian District School Board member Javaid Siddiqi in the statement. “Two years ago, our School Board engaged the community as we developed the leadership traits and qualities that we wanted in the next school superintendent, and we found those qualities in Dr. Lane.”

Lane began his career in 2000, teaching band in inner-city Durham, North Carolina. He went on to serve as an assistant principal and principal at schools in North Carolina and Virginia before being named superintendent of Middlesex County in 2011 and superintendent of Goochland the following year. Before coming to Chesterfield, Lane was instrumental in the creation of the computer science-focused CodeRVA Regional High School in Richmond.

“The School Board has built a dynamic leadership team during Dr. Lane’s tenure,” said Clover Hill District School Board member Dianne Smith in a statement. “This leadership team has the same skill sets and desired leadership qualities that our community values. Mr. Fairheart’s strong leadership, broad range of experiences, and commitment to our shared vision for tomorrow’s schools will allow for a seamless transition.”

On May 29, the School Board will meet at 8 a.m. in the Public Meeting Room and vote to accept Lane’s resignation and officially vote to name Fairheart as interim superintendent. |






Return to top