School superintendent Dan Boyd retiring next month


Alachua County Superintendent of Schools Dan Boyd, shown in this Jan. 17, 2012 file photo, has announced he is retiring.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 8:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 11:11 p.m.

After nine years as superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools and more than 40 in education, Dan Boyd announced Tuesday he will retire at the end of September.

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Alachua County Superintendent of Schools Dan Boyd, shown in this Jan. 17, 2012 file photo, has announced he is retiring.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun

“They always say you know when it’s time, and I know it’s time for me to retire,” Boyd, 72, told the School Board during its Tuesday meeting. “And I greatly appreciate your courtesies and the opportunity to fulfill my dream.”

Boyd began his career in education in 1964, as a teacher at Waldo Community School.

He left the district for one year to be principal at Chiefland High School in Levy County in 1970, the year Florida integrated its public schools.

He returned to Alachua County the following year as principal of Gainesville High School, where he remained for 24 years.

“Most of the kids get out in four, but it took me 24,” he said Tuesday.

Boyd retired in 1999, then spent five years as associate commissioner of the Florida High School Athletic Association.

In 2004, the School Board selected him to be superintendent.

Boyd said he has enjoyed every minute of his career, but it’s time to move onto the next stage.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to have served,” he said.

Over the last nine years, teachers and School Board members said Tuesday, Boyd has fought aggressively for public education and helped garner the community’s support for schools.

Twice in the last four years, Alachua County voters approved an additional property tax to supplement school art, music and nurse programs.

Rob Hyatt, a retired teacher seated in the audience at the meeting, said he had not planned on speaking, but addressed Boyd during public comment to thank him for his service.

Morale among teachers was low before Boyd became superintendent, he said.

By the time Hyatt retired from Duval Elementary School in 2011, he said, Boyd had turned many things around in the district.

“I cannot thank you enough as a teacher, and I’m sure I could speak for thousands of other teachers,” Hyatt said.

Members of the board, some of whom were hired as educators by Boyd decades ago, also thanked him.

“You have been a champion for public education,” School Board Chairwoman Eileen Roy said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am every time I see you going to Tallahassee and straightening them out.”

Alachua County Education Association President Karen McCann thanked Boyd for the collaborative relationship he helped foster between the school district and the teachers union.

“You have always stood up for, as we all know who work in education, what is good and what is right for our kids,” she said.

Boyd said the decision to retire came simply from knowing it was time.

He said he would like to keep up with his longtime interest in studying history, to travel with his wife, Darla, and to see his daughters, one of whom lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with two of her own children.

“We’ve got a lot of things that we can do to keep us busy in the grandparently ways,” he said.

On Tuesday, the School Board also approved the Strategic Plan Goals and Outcomes for 2013-16 and discussed some legislative priorities for the upcoming year.

Beginning in February 2012, the board collected input from teachers, students, parents and community members.

The next step is to solidify a series of action plans that reflects the goals and outcomes outlined in the strategic plan. Action plans are already being developed in a series of community meetings.

Board member Leanetta McNealy encouraged community members to join in the discussion.

“This will be our road map for the next couple of years,” she said.

Board member Gunnar Paulson said, “We need to push for a delay of Common Core ... because if we don’t, we’re headed for a train wreck.”

Florida is already transitioning to the Common Core State Standards, a set of learning expectations for each grade level, with the goal of full implementation in the 2014-15 school year.

The state began phasing in the standards last year, and will continue this year by teaching Common Core alongside the Next Generation State Standards, which is measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Students will still take the FCAT and relevant end-of-course exams this year, but they’re supposed to switch to a set of assessments measuring Common Core standards the following year.

Giving students and teachers a mere two years to adjust to what amounts to an entirely new way of learning and testing is unfair, Paulson said.

Many states that have adopted the standards in the last few years are giving their districts until 2020 for full implementation.

“We can’t have full implementation. It’s too soon,” Paulson said. “As usual, we rush in.”

Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or erin.jester@gainesville.com.

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