Dare County Schools Superintendent John Farrelly to retire in June 2023

[Photo courtesy neresa.org]

Dare County Schools (DCS) Superintendent John Farrelly formally announced on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, that he will be retiring at the end of the 2023 school year effective June 30th. The announcement was made via an email sent to DCS families and staff members.

The full email reads as follows:

My life centers around my beautiful wife Rena, my 10-year-old son Jack and my soon-to-be 8-year-old daughter Cate. The blessings that have been afforded me are gifts from God. Rena is the kindest, most genuine person I know, my best friend and she’s been a rock for me since I began my first superintendent position 13 years ago. Jack and Cate are two beautiful children, and much like their mother, they are the kindest, most polite, and joyful children. Being a superintendent puts constant demands on a family; countless phone calls pulling me away from dinner, arriving home late, and the 24/7 grind that requires much patience and understanding in our family. I can’t thank Rena and my kids enough for their understanding, love, and support.

Rena and I have spent the last several months discussing what’s best for our family, our future, and our wellness. The strains of the superintendency are many and have in many ways tripled over the past 2 years.  Despite the stressors, the rewards of leading a public school system are rich and vast. I have been very fortunate to have led three (3) very unique school systems and lived in very caring and supportive communities. I have made lifelong friends and colleagues, and have been so fortunate to work with so many exceptional leaders, who are even better people. I am proud of the work we have done, I’m proud to have had the courage and resiliency to do the right things for children every day for 13 years, and proud to have been a part of the teaching profession. Public schools matter. Leadership matters. Teachers matter. Loving and caring schools matter.

I’m not a “me” guy when it comes to accomplishments so that’s not a list I will produce but I am proud that I have served three (3) North Carolina public school systems over the past 13 years while 108 superintendent positions have been turned over. Yes, 108.

Rena and I have decided that I will retire from the North Carolina Public School System following the 2022-2023 school year. This is our decision. Despite several Board Members insisting that I reconsider, I have informed the Board of Education this afternoon that the 2022-2023 school year will be my last. I will retire effective June 30, 2023. This timeline gives the Board and the community enough planning time to recruit and name a new superintendent while providing needed transition time.

I can’t thank the Board members enough who have supported me, my leadership, our teams, and our work. It’s been my pleasure during my tenure to work with and for a Board of Education that supports leaders, teachers, staff, children, and communities. It seems like yesterday when Bea Basnight, Margaret Lawler, Mary Ellon Ballance, Ben Sproul, Joe Tauber, David Twiddy, and Charlotte White interviewed me for what seemed like countless hours. Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime.

I also want to thank the Dare County Commissioners, particularly Chairman Woodard for their unwavering support. Thank you to County Manager Bobby Outten and Finance Director Dave Clawson, you are both ultimate professionals.  I also want to thank and recognize our law enforcement partners and the many community leaders who have provided unending support to the mission in Dare County Schools.

I want to thank the finest array of leaders in North Carolina both on our Central Office Team and in our buildings. It’s been a pleasure to work, strive, laugh, cry and lead with all of you.

Thank you Dare County teachers and staff members. The hundreds of supportive emails, cards, and messages particularly during the pandemic were always uplifting. Thank you for your commitment to our mission and for what you do on a daily basis for students, each other, and our community.

Thank you to all of the parents who have supported our work, our schools, our staff, and my leadership for the last 5 years.

Lastly, I want to thank my committed senior leadership team members- my friends, colleagues, brothers, and sisters. You are all so very talented. Thank you for your support, care, fortitude, and endless commitment to doing the right thing.

It’s been an honor to serve Dare County.

My best,