School Board appoints Fairheart as Interim Superintendent

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The Chesterfield County School Board today appointed Donald R. Fairheart the school division’s Interim Superintendent, effective June 1. Fairheart is currently Chief of Staff for Chesterfield County Public Schools, a position he has held since joining the school division in 2016.

Fairheart will replace outgoing Superintendent Dr. James Lane, who last week was appointed by Gov. Ralph Northam to be the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Lane’s resignation from his position as Superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools was accepted by the School Board today during a special-called meeting.

“We are fortunate that the School Board has built a strong leadership team during Dr. Lane’s tenure with the same skill sets and desired leadership qualities that our community values,” School Board Chair John Erbach said. “Chief of Staff Rusty Fairheart is a great example of a strong leader with the same characteristics sought two years ago.

“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 as we develop a new strategic plan, transition school operating times, open new schools and plan for additional school rebuilds and integrate redistricted school boundaries.”

Fairheart has served as Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Chief of Staff, with oversight of day-to-day operations, since joining the school division in 2016. Prior to joining the school division, he was executive director for the multijurisdictional Southeastern Cooperative Education Program (SECEP) in Norfolk. Fairheart served as superintendent in Middlesex County from 2007-11.

“I am honored that the School Board has the confidence in me to serve in an interim capacity,” Fairheart said. “I look forward to working closely with the Board and staff members as we close out the last two-plus weeks of school and prepare for a number of exciting transitions to start the 2018-19 school year.”

Fairheart holds a Master’s in Business Education degree from Old Dominion University, a Master’s of Art degree from Hampton University, a post Master’s Certification in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Radford University and has taken coursework for a Doctorate of Educational Policy and Leadership from Virginia Tech. His career started as a special education teacher with SECEP and as an instructional specialist for York County Public Schools, and later served as assistant director of special education and director of assessment for Gloucester County Public Schools.