Surry Schools’ leader Dr. Michael Thornton set to retire at year’s end

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: August 14, 2019 | 8:30 a.m.

SURRY – Following a decorated career in education, Surry County Public Schools’ leader Dr. Michael Thornton is preparing for the next stage of his life as he slated to retire from the school system come year’s end.

In a letter addressed to the county school board, colleagues, and community, Thornton announced that he is retiring as Surry Schools’ superintendent effective January 1, 2020.

The announcement, which was read at the Tuesday’s school board meeting led to much praise from board members for all that he has accomplished during his three-plus years with Surry County Schools, a pledge from Thornton and board members to accomplish even more in the months left before he actually steps down as, just hours earlier, he shared news of the school division’s attainment of full accreditation for another year from the Virginia Department of Education as Surry County Schools continues to meet and exceed standards

Following the meeting, Thornton forwarded the letter to parents of the county’s students with an introduction which read, “It has been my highest professional honor to serve as superintendent in Surry County.  To lead and walk alongside you in the work of educating the children of Surry County has provided me with wonderful experiences and memories that I will never forget!”

Excerpts from the letter read, “For the last three-plus years, it has been my highest professional honor and privilege to serve as Superintendent of Schools here in Surry County; and for that, I am most appreciative. I wish to thank the Surry County School Board for your support as we partnered in doing ‘what is right for children.’ I also want to express my appreciation to our teachers, support staff and administrators for their professionalism and commitment to the cause of educating and developing the students that we have been entrusted to serve. I want to thank the Surry County Board of Supervisors and the county administration for their support of and continued investment in public education. Although our time together may be viewed as brief; I learned a long time ago that quality and impact cannot be measured by time spent. As such, I am very proud of what we have been able to continue, initiate and accomplish during our time together.”

The letter went on to enumerate highlights of the last three years as well as plans for the system going forward. Highlights included how proud he is of “the academic performance of our students and schools and the accreditation status that we have achieved and maintained… the strategic program and course enhancements that we have implemented, including Business Applications in Agriculture and Introduction to Plant Systems…” as well as the integration of “drone technology into our career and technical education curriculum” and “providing every student in grades kindergarten through 12 with their own personal computing device to enhance their learning experiences.”

He stressed the importance of partnerships recently forged with the Obici Health Foundation and the ACCESS College Foundation and expressed particular excitement about the launch of the Surry County School System’s launch of the division’s inaugural concurrent enrollment program through John Tyler Community College.

He further emphasized the ongoing efforts to increase the salaries of teachers and staff, significant improvements to major facility infrastructure systems, and emphasized his appreciation of both the School Board and the Board of Supervisors and all their support and renewed his vow to lead in further improvements in the coming months.

Look for the full story in next week’s print edition of The Sussex Surry Dispatch and more school news in our September 4 Back-To-School edition.

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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