HCPS selects new leader

Published 11:19 am Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WINTON – For a veteran Virginia educator, Monday was cause for celebration in more ways than one.

In a special called meeting here Monday afternoon, the Hertford County Board of Education voted unanimously to hire Dr. John A. Fahey as the next Superintendent of Hertford County Public Schools (HCPS).

Also on Monday, Fahey, the current Assistant Superintendent of Surry County (Va.) Schools, celebrated his 59th birthday.

“I’m very excited over this opportunity and look forward in helping to make Hertford County Schools the very best they can be,” Dr. Fahey said in a telephone interview from his Newport News, Va. home. “From the research I have done on the Hertford County system, I feel this is a good fit for me professionally. It’s a school system on its way up and I want to help make it even better.”

The move will also afford Dr. Fahey an opportunity to return to his roots as he was born June 29, 1950 in Elizabeth City.

Speaking on behalf of the Hertford County Board of Education, Chairman Ronald G. Baker stated he and his colleagues made the right decision.

“We feel very comfortable that Dr. Fahey will take our school system and move it forward,” Baker said after the vote was taken. “After the efforts of (current HCPS Superintendent) Dr. (Michael) Basham to put the current programs in place here, we were not looking for someone to re-invent the wheel. Rather, we sought out a person who was willing to take what we have in place and move us forward. We feel we have found that person in Dr. Fahey.”

Baker said 18 candidates applied for the position. That group was narrowed to seven, from which five were interviewed.

“We felt we had some quality candidates for this job, but when it came down to reaching a final decision we felt Dr. Fahey’s broad base of experience as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent made him stand out,” Baker noted.

Dr. Fahey launched his educational career in 1975 as a 7th grade teacher at Henley Middle School in Virginia. From there he moved up the ranks, eventually becoming the Director of Instruction for Orange County (Va.) Public Schools followed by two stints as a principal (Nottoway, Va. High School and Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton, Va.).

He has served as Executive Director of Secondary Education for Newport News, Va. Public Schools and for the past two years has been the Assistant Superintendent for Surry County Public Schools.

Additionally, Dr. Fahey has worked in the military, first as a translator and later as Chief of the US Army’s Intelligence Agency’s Information Services Division.

He has also taught at the collegiate level, serving as Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at James Madison University as well as at Longwood College in Farmville, Va. and as an instructor at his alma mater, the University of Virginia. There he earned his Master of Education (1975) and Doctor of Education (1992).

He and his wife, Virginia E. Fahey, are the parents of three grown children.

Dr. Fahey will begin his new job on July 27.

Also on Monday, the board voted to retain Dr. Basham’s services through July 31 in order to prevent the local school system from having to hire an interim superintendent and to assist with Dr. Fahey’s transition.

“I feel the staff here will support the new superintendent because they, like Dr. Fahey, believe strongly in the quality educational programs we have in place,” said Dr. Basham who last year announced he would retire from HCPS at the end of the current school year.