WUFT News

Alachua County Superintendent Plans To Retire After Almost 50 Years in Education

By on September 2nd, 2013
Superintendent Dan Boyd of Alachua County Public Schools sits in his office at the Kirby Smith Center on East University Avenue. After more than nine years as superintendent, Boyd is retiring at the end of September.

Katina Prokos / WUFT News

Superintendent Dan Boyd of Alachua County Public Schools sits in his office at the Kirby Smith Center on East University Avenue. After more than nine years as superintendent, Boyd is retiring at the end of September.

After almost 50 years in education, Superintendent Dan Boyd has become the face of Alachua County Public Schools.

Yet as a child in the 1940s and 1950s, Boyd was simply “the superintendent’s son.”

He used to go to high school football games with his father, William Daniel Boyd Sr., who was superintendent of Duval County Public Schools at the time.

“He was held in very high regard by all the people he came in contact with,” said Boyd, who announced on Aug. 20 that he will be retiring as superintendent of Alachua County schools after nine years.

Boyd had no idea he would follow in his father’s footsteps. Sometimes he went to work with his dad in the old Duval High School building that had been converted to administrative offices, where Boyd would sit at the superintendent’s desk and make chains out of paper clips.

Boyd said his father never pushed him to be a superintendent.

“He just wanted me to do whatever I wanted to do,” Boyd said. “He was a wonderful father, as my mother was a wonderful mother.”

A photograph of his parents taken at the end of World War II sits in the same place inside Boyd’s office as it has since he was appointed superintendent in 2004.

Over the years, their image has been a reminder of the most important value Boyd was brought up with: “Treat other people the way you would like to be treated.” That philosophy has served Boyd well in his career, giving him the chance to become a principal before the age of 30.

After Boyd graduated from the University of Florida in the early 1960s, the integration of public schools made a lot of older educators nervous about running a school with more than one race. Boyd said his experience working alongside African-Americans at his father’s orange grove and contracting company gave him an advantage.

“I didn’t have a whole lot of hesitancy about going into a school that would be integrated for the first time,” Boyd said. “I just treated them the way I’d like to be treated and never had too many problems about it.”

At 27 years old, he was offered the job as principal of Chiefland High School in 1969, the first year it was integrated. Two years later, he became principal of Gainesville High School, where he would stay for more than two decades.

Many still think of Boyd as their high school principal. Karen Clarke, now assistant superintendent for student support and curriculum in Alachua County, was one of Boyd’s students in the 1980s while he was principal of Gainesville High School.

“He was always very hands-on and involved with student activities,” Clarke said. “He attended every football game, home and away.”

Boyd served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction from 1995 to 1999.

After leaving the Alachua County school district for a few years to work for the Florida High School Athletic Association, he was appointed superintendent in 2004.

As superintendent, he affected change in Tallahassee. Boyd convinced a state education committee to reconsider changing high school graduation standards that made it more difficult for students not planning to go to college to earn a diploma, said Jackie Johnson, public information officer for Alachua County Public Schools.

“He does not hesitate to speak truth to power,” Johnson said. “Not all superintendents are willing to do that.”

In addition to his role in schools, Boyd’s involvement in civic organizations like the Rotary Club has made him well known to the community.

“People I don’t know walk up to me and feel compelled to tell me that Dan was their principal or their child’s principal and they absolutely loved him,” Johnson said.

Because of the family environment of the education system, Boyd’s return to the Alachua County School District “very much brought that family back together,” said Keith Birkett, the now-retired assistant superintendent of business services.

“He was the man at the right time to come in and make everybody feel like they’re a part of something,” Birkett said.

Looking back on his career, Boyd said his strong and supportive family allowed him to give back to the young people of the community.

“The love of my mother and father gave me the ability to extend that love to others,” Boyd said. “When it comes to students, I loved them all. It didn’t matter what color they were or what their socioeconomic background was.”


This entry was posted in Local. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Cee

    I was one of your students in the late 70’s and I will never forget what you said to me to get me to start dressing out for PE. You didn’t scold me but you got me to think….and what you said made sense. For me to still remember that incident after 30 plus years tells me something about the kind of human being you are. All the best to you.

 

More Stories in Local

Troy Butler, former UF football player, said, "Why am I going to waste time on a bust when I can go on my bike twice as fast?"

Gainesville Riders Hope To Start Bike-Sharing Program

Shane Hartley and Troy Butler choose to ride their bikes to work because they know the health and environmental benefits of biking. In order to unite people like them, the Gainesville Citizens for Active Transportation want to start a bike-sharing program.


The finale kicked off shortly before 10 p.m. and for many launched the holiday weekend. (Will England/WUFT News)

Photos: Scenes from Fanfares and Fireworks 2015

The 2015 Fanfares and Fireworks celebration, hosted by the UF College of Journalism and Communications, drew more than 10,000 to the campus July 3.


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Unexpected Fireworks Leave Some Veterans On Edge

Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder may face obstacles during the holiday weekend. Military With PTSD, a nonprofit organization, has started a campaign to help educate people about the effects of fireworks on people with PTSD.


The confederate soldier statue stands outside of the Alachua County Administration Building. Due to recent controversy in the nation, the monument's downtown location is raising concern for the local community.

Protesters Appeal To City Commission Over Confederate Statue

Protesters seeking to remove the downtown statue of the Confederate soldier spoke to city officials for the first time since the campaign began in late June. This is the first of several efforts that will go on over the next two weeks among protesters who call for the County Commission to take down the statue.


Grace Marketplace Reflects On First Year

Grace Marketplace has served the local homeless community for one year. The community is part of a 10-year plan, conceived in 2005, to end homelessness.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments