Winchester schools names a new assistant superintendent

Posted: June 11, 2014

The Winchester Star

Mark Miear

WINCHESTER — The city school division has hired a new assistant superintendent.

Mark Miear, 45, will take over as the assistant superintendent of instruction on July 1. He is currently the director of secondary education in Campbell County, where he oversees four high schools and four middle schools.

“We’re excited,” he said of his family. “Winchester has a very strong tradition in terms of education. And it has a great reputation around the state for supporting public education.”

Miear said another factor for applying for the job is the “beautiful” Handley High School and the diversity of the division and city, which will benefit his two adopted daughters — ages 7 and 8 — who were born in Guatemala.

Miear will oversee all aspects of instruction, including the supervision, evaluation, development and implementation of the division’s curricular, instructional and assessment programs, according to a Tuesday press release from the school division.

He was one of 60 candidates interviewed and will earn a base salary of $117,829.

A native Virginian, Miear began his career in 1992 as a special education teaching assistant in Lynchburg City Schools.

From there, he taught social studies for eight years before moving into administration. For the next 10 years, he served as assistant principal, assistant director of personnel, associate principal and high school principal in Lynchburg City.

During his five-year stretch as the principal at Heritage High School in Lynchburg, the dropout rate for minorities decreased from 21 percent to 10 percent. For all students, the rate decreased from 16 percent to 8 percent over the same time period.

The number of failed courses for freshmen also decreased from 277 to 61, and the number of administered Advanced Placement exams increased from 210 to 448.

While at Heritage, Miear also implemented an intervention and enrichment period during the school day for all students — the first program of its kind in central Virginia.

In 2012, Miear moved to Campbell County to become the director of secondary education, where he introduced the same intervention program while also establishing a partnership with Central Virginia Community College to expand the career and technical education curriculum.

During his two years in the position, the dropout rate for all students decreased from 8 percent to 3 percent.

According to Director of Personnel Donna Eagle, Miear was chosen because he implemented innovative and creative initiatives to lower-achieving students and helped close the achievement gaps for subgroups that include minorities and high-poverty students — a population similar to Winchester Public Schools.

Miear also was the candidate with the most administrative experience, Eagle said.

“He was very eager for the job,” she said. “He was well prepared, and in terms of his career experience, he will be a great complement to WPS.”

Miear’s wife, Stephanie, is a special education teacher. He will join Mark Lineburg, who starts as the new superintendent on June 30.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com