Lois F. Berlin, who began her career nearly 40 years ago as a special education teacher in Scotland, announced her retirement as superintendent of Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS) at the end of her current contract, on June 30, 2011.
In a letter to the Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS) staff, Dr. Berlin challenged each to continue to form strong relationships with our students and the community while perfecting their skills as 21st century educators.
“You are preparing our students for a world we cannot even predict,” Dr. Berlin wrote. “So much is coming our way at a fast and furious pace, and we need to work as a team to absorb it all. “
Dr. Berlin is in her seventh year as superintendent at Falls Church City Public Schools. Prior to arriving in Falls Church, she spent two years as Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in the Alexandria City Public Schools. Her career in education spans 39 years as a teacher in both regular and special education classes, assistant principal, principal and central office administrator. She holds a masters degree in Special Education/Early Childhood from the George Washington University and a B.S. in Sociology and a doctorate in Educational Leadership, both from Virginia Tech.
“This is a bittersweet day for Falls Church City Public Schools,” said School Board Chairman Joan Wodiska. “While the board wishes Dr. Berlin the greatest happiness in the next chapter of her life, she will be missed by many. Dr. Berlin has been much more than a superintendent of schools, she is a member of our community and true friend. On behalf of the entire school board, please join me in thanking Dr. Berlin for her seven years of service to our schools. Her steadfast leadership, passion, and vision, and most of all, commitment to our students was and remains the focus of her tenure.”
While at FCCPS, Dr. Berlin oversaw the construction and opening of the first new school building in more than 50 years. She championed the expansion of the International Baccalaureate program into our elementary schools and the exploration of the Middle Years Program for our middle and high schools. She supported the implementation of technology systems to support classroom work, and developed a long-range facilities plan all the while balancing budgets during some of the toughest economic years the City has ever faced.
“During my years in Falls Church, we have faced a multitude of challenges matched by just as many triumphs,” Dr. Berlin wrote to the FCCPS Staff. Among the most recent highlights:
– The class of 2010 had the highest SAT scores in Virginia and in the history of the division.
– FCCPS has the highest graduation rate in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
– The IB Primary Years Program is well underway in our elementary schools and the IB Middle Years Program continues to be a program of focus.
– The number of National Board Certified Teachers continues to increase.
Dr. Berlin is the seventh superintendent in FCCPS history, succeeding Mary Ellen Shaw, who also served for seven years (1997-2004). Warren J. Pace, who served for 20 years (1971-1991), has the longest tenure of all FCCPS superintendents.
In closing her letter to staff and parents, Dr. Berlin wrote, “I am fiercely proud to be your superintendent. We have accomplished much, and we will continue to accomplish great things during this school year. I am a proud Hippo, Tiger, Husky and Mustang and will remain forever so.”
Moving forward, the board will hold six public hearings/information gathering sessions to gather input on the qualifications and characteristics for the next superintendent of schools. The board will also gather public input through an electronic survey. The school board has formed a Superintendent Search Committee comprised of Chairman, Joan Wodiska, and board members Susan Kearney, and Rosaura Aguerrebere. The board has also retained the services of the Virginia School Boards Association to assist in the search. Additional details on public hearing dates and the survey will follow later this week.