SNOW HILL — After he completes his 16th year serving as Worcester County’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jon Andes will retire next June.
“Jon Andes has been a tremendous asset for our school system,” said Board of Education President Bob Hulburd. “He understands that we shouldn’t be defined by who we are today. Instead, as students and educators, we should be defined by what we will become tomorrow.”
Andes announced his retirement during the board meeting Tuesday. It was an emotional moment, both for Andes and members of the board, some of whom have served with him for more than a decade. Coming to Worcester County in 1996, Andes remarked that his predecessors had already laid a lot of the groundwork he would use during his term in office.
“The school system was already very accomplished,” remembered Andes. “Like my predecessors, I believed that we could further excel, overcoming the challenges that lay ahead, whether those challenges were associated with education reform, achievement gaps or aging facilities.”
The effect Andes has had on county schools since 1996 is measurable and often praised. Based on the Maryland State Assessment, Worcester has finished among the highest rated schools in the state for several years, often leading the charts. Since Maryland has consistently been ranked amongst the top public school systems in the country and has been ranked number one three years running by Education Week magazine, this means that Worcester has some of the best public schools in the country, something attributed, at least partially, to Andes.
“Our culture of perpetual forward motion and growth has been sparked by Jon,” said Hulburd, “and has enabled our students and schools to achieve at the highest levels in the state, year after year. We are deeply grateful for Jon’s outstanding service and he will be sorely missed.”
Also under Andes, all 14 Worcester public schools have achieved Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation for Growth awards, a distinction only shared by one other county in the state. Additionally, prior to Andes taking the helm, Worcester had no Blue Ribbon of Excellence certified schools, either by the state criteria or national standards.
Today, four schools are National Blue Ribbon schools, while eight of the 12 eligible are Maryland Blue Ribbon schools, which gives Worcester more than any other county in the state.
Andes is leaving with some regrets, however.
“I was deeply disappointed when County Commissioners voted to postpone the Snow Hill High School renovation project on Oct. 4,” he said. “The students of Snow Hill deserve an environment that will better prepare them for the complex world that lies ahead. We need to work together to fund this project. I will continue to push for this project.”
A former Maryland Superintendent of the Year and recipient of the Maryland University Leadership Award, among a number of other honors, Andes is leaving “big shoes to be filled”, according to Hulburd.
“Unanimously, we’d like to see Dr. Andes stay,” said Hulburd on behalf of the board. “I don’t even want to vote on [accepting his retirement].”
However, Hulburd agreed to respect Andes’ decision and the retirement will go into effect on June 30, 2012.
“Jon Andes is not replaceable,” said Hulburd, “but we will search for the qualities that need to be present to keep our momentum going. It won’t be an easy task, but our future generations are depending on the decisions that this board will make. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
The board will conduct a nationwide search to find its next superintendent.