Chesterfield selects Dr. James F. Lane as superintendent

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School Board members introduced Dr. James Lane, who addressed school and community leaders.

The Chesterfield County School Board announced today its unanimous selection of Goochland County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. James F. Lane, a former Chesterfield County school administrator, as the next superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools. Lane’s appointment, which is scheduled to be voted on tonight by the School Board, is effective July 1.

Superintendent in Goochland since 2012, Lane recently was named the 2016 Region 1 Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and is a finalist for the 2017 Virginia Superintendent of the Year. Region 1 encompasses 15 school divisions in the Richmond metro area, including Chesterfield County.

Lane will take over from Dr. Marcus J. Newsome, who announced earlier this school year his intention to retire after 10 years with Chesterfield County Public Schools.

“In numerous engagement sessions with key constituent groups, the School Board heard very clearly that the ability to build strong relationships, communicate effectively and enhance the innovative instructional programs already in existence were critical skill sets our next leader must embody,” said School Board Chair Dianne H. Smith. “From his work in previous superintendent positions, it is clear that Dr. Lane has all of these attributes and much more.

“His visionary leadership has helped make Goochland a state leader in instructional technology that has engaged students in collaboration and creative thinking. The results, in terms of student achievement and national recognition, speak for themselves. We are excited to have Dr. Lane join a legacy of strong superintendents who have continued to take Chesterfield County Public Schools to the next level.”

Lane’s work in Goochland and his educational beliefs align with the superintendent search firm’s report on key attributes sought in Chesterfield’s next leader:

  • Visionary educator Lane believes that school leadership requires innovation and creativity. As a leader in Chesterfield, he will be focused on preserving everything that has made Chesterfield great while enhancing the school division where possible.
  • Instructional leader Lane believes our students deserve leaders who take challenges head on and use analysis, strategic thinking, the opinions of others and great judgment to develop plans for enhancing the school division. Working with communities and using student data to identify core need areas, he has developed strategic plans to raise the growth and achievement of all students.
  • Effective communicator Lane believes effective school leaders promote open, two-way communication among students, staff, division leadership team, parents and community members. Lane realizes that fostering an exemplary school division also requires transparency, high ethics and stewardship for the citizens and taxpayer support of public schools. Effective operations and the efficient use of resources are critical to supporting the business side of public education.
  • Collaborative manager Lane believes in fostering a team of strong and engaged leaders focused on collaboration, and he has a strong track record of bringing stability and growth to his school divisions.

“My leadership style is transparent, collaborative and customer-service driven,” Lane said. “I am excited to return to Chesterfield County Public Schools and am humbled to be chosen to lead a school division already recognized as a state and national leader in public education. Every day, my primary focus will be on how we can maximize the potential of each and every student in Chesterfield County. I will invest everything I can offer to support teachers, leaders and staff while advancing Chesterfield County Public Schools toward excellence in education.”

As Goochland’s top instructional leader, Lane created a balanced assessment model that has become a model throughout Virginia and advocated for the removal of burdens related to state-mandated testing by creating innovative classrooms. Goochland’s on-time graduation rate for its 2015 seniors was 94 percent, 3 percentage points higher than the state average. Goochland’s performance on state-mandated testing ranged from 2 to 7 percentage points higher than the state average, and its performance was among the highest in the region in every category.

He was instrumental in creating a 1-to-1 technology plan for Goochland students that has been awarded and recognized nationally. He believes that a focus on instructional pedagogy and highly effective teaching strategies side-by-side with anywhere, anytime learning opportunities for students will create even greater growth and achievement results than a focus on state test results. Lane was selected to attend the 2014 ConnectEd Superintendents Summit at the White House with the President, an event that recognized 100 of the top superintendents in the country for their leadership in instructional technology. Lane’s work in promoting greater student outcomes through data analytics was recognized with the National Flashlight Award from the Data Quality Campaign this year.

The work Lane has been involved in extends well beyond Goochland County. As chair-elect of Bridging Richmond, chair of the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium at Virginia Commonwealth University, immediate past chair of the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Superintendent Steering Committee and chair of the Region 1 superintendents group, Lane has been involved in numerous efforts to advance public education throughout the Richmond area. Most recently, Lane has led an effort to create an alternative high school, CodeRVA, focused on innovating the high school model while preparing students for careers in technology fields identified by local business leaders as critical shortage areas.

Lane began his career in 2000, serving as an award-winning band director and assistant principal in Durham (N.C.) Public Schools. He has also served as an assistant principal at Carver Middle School in Chesterfield County and as a middle school principal and assistant superintendent, both in Middlesex County. Before joining Goochland as its superintendent, Lane was superintendent in Middlesex County Public Schools. At that time, he was the youngest superintendent in Virginia. In 2014, Lane was named one of Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40.

Lane earned a Doctor of Education from the University of Virginia and a second master’s degree from North Carolina State University. He earned his first master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He regularly serves as an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University and the University of Richmond. Lane, his wife, Sarah, and children Charlie and Kerrington look forward to moving to Chesterfield and being actively engaged in the community.