On April 7, Fallbrook Union High School District (FUSHD) superintendent Dale Mitchell informed the district’s board of trustees of his plans to retire, with his last day of employment being Monday, September 1, 2014.
At the end of his term, Mitchell will have completed six years of service as superintendent in the FUHSD district, 13 years overall as superintendent, and 36 years in public education.
“I made the decision to announce my retirement at this time so that the board has sufficient time to determine whether to find a permanent or interim replacement, and what process it will implement in order to do so,” said Mitchell. “Meanwhile, I will continue to provide the best leadership I can.”
Throughout Mitchell’s tenure, there were highlights that he was particularly proud of.
“Progress has been made to provide the students with 21st Century learning, which allows students to implement critical thinking in accordance to the Common Core standards,” said Mitchell. “I’m pleased at the work and progress with the English Language Learners, but there is more work to be done. I am pleased by the progress at Oasis High School, which now has UC A-G curriculum, which provides students the support to become college bound. Students at Ivy have access to more quality education.”
Mitchell also stated that he was pleased at the professional atmosphere created at the district.
“I’m pleased that there has been an improvement in the community and climate of the district,” he said. “If there is a difference of opinion, it can be expressed without being adversarial. Even if there was a difference in perspective and opinion, there was a respect for one another.”
Sharon Koehler, the FUHSD board president, shared her surprise at Mitchell’s announcement.
“I was shocked and surprised, but was happy for him,” said Koehler. “Our hope and goal will be to find a successor who will be as fine as a superintendent as Dr. Mitchell. From my perspective, [Dr. Mitchell] has integrity and honesty that was what the community needed.”
Koehler stated the board hopes to find a permanent replacement for Mitchell, as opposed to finding an interim superintendent.
“We have items for our September 1 agenda,” she stated. “Speaking for myself, I hope we find someone who has a similar educational qualities as Dr. Mitchell, who had a doctorate.”
Koehler said that the board will look for someone who has a strong presence in the community and district.
“We are also looking for a person who will become a part of the community, as well, and become an integral part of the community,” she said. “We want a superintendent that is visible on campus and in the classrooms, as Dr. Mitchell was.”
Mitchell and his wife plan to continue living in Fallbrook after his retirement, and both are looking forward to serving as volunteers in our community, in addition to traveling.
“I expect to continue my involvement with Rotary and the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County, along with other community services,” said Mitchell, who said that he felt it was important as superintendent to be a part of the Fallbrook community.
“It is beneficial to the school and community to be involved in both aspects,” he explained. “[School leadership] should have good knowledge and understanding of what the community’s needs are, and the community can feel like they have access to information about the activities happening within the school.”
As Mitchell prepares for retirement, he stated that he felt support from the school district staff throughout his tenure at FUHSD.
“I consider it a blessing to have been able to serve in our school district and community,” said Mitchell. “Thank you to all those who have prayed for me to have wisdom and strength during challenging times.”