principal Bruce Butler will retire at the end of the school year. He announced his decision in a letter to parents and students on Monday.
Butler began his career in education as an earth science teacher at Herndon High in 1981. He was named assistant principal at Herndon High in 1993, then moved to South Lakes as an assistant principal in 1998. He was named principal of South Lakes in June 2005.
Butler graduated from Shippensburg University and earned his Master’s degree in secondary education from Virginia Tech.
FCPS awarded him the Nancy F. Sprague First-Year Administrator Award and named him 2007 Outstanding First-Year Principal by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).
He also saw the school through a multimillion dollar renovation and sometimes contentious redistricting battle. The school population has grown to more than 2,100 students during Butler's tenure, and test scores and achievment have risen.
Former FCPS School Board Rep Stu Gibson (Hunter Mill) said he was surprised by Butler's announcement, but his tenure will have a lasting impact on the community.
"Bruce really helped create a cohesive community at South Lakes," said Gibson. "He showed he really cares about every child in the school. His enthusiasm in infectious, and students can't help but succeed.
"Under Bruce, the IB program has become a model," said Gibson. "I challenge you to find a school anywhere with the level of participation South Lakes has. I give Bruce a lot of credit. I think the school is a better place because of him."
Current Hunter Mill school board rep Pat Hynes says Butler "has become one of my heroes. "
"He understands how important relationships are in education," Hynes said. "He is one of those irreplaceable people. Bruce will be greatly missed."
South Lakes PTSA President Susan Sather says she will miss working with Butler.
"His ability to work on so many levels simultaneously, is impressive, and he is the person who can with one word, get things done," said Sather. "Bruce is engaged in everything that goes on in the building, has a strong vision for the large picture educationally, and a level of caring for individual students that goes far beyond what anyone might expect. "
Here is what Butler said in an email to South Lakes families on Monday:
Seahawk Parents and Students,
I will be retiring from Fairfax County Schools on June 29, 2012. It truly has been an honor to work with the students, faculty, and parents of the greater South Lakes High School community. Throughout my fourteen years at South Lakes, your children have made it a very special place to work, learn, and grow. Your support has been invaluable and will remain elemental to the continued advancement of South Lakes High School. Thanks to all of you for making my years here the most rewarding of my career.
South Lakes High School
Patch will have more details as they become available.