Berkley says goodbye to Lunenburg County Public Schools

Published 6:41 pm Saturday, August 5, 2023

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As class begins for Lunenburg County Public Schools, a new superintendent will take the lead.

Lunenburg County Public Schools Superintendent Charles Berkley Jr. announced last week that he will retire from his position, effective September 1.

Before making his announcement, Berkley had been out on an extended leave of absence, during which the school board appointed Dr. Sharon Stanislas.

In his retirement announcement letter, Berkley gave no answer as to why he had been on leave.

“As I reflect on my time here, I can sometimes affirm some meaningful contributions in at least parts of my public life,” Berkeley said. “Other times, things seem somewhat flimsy. I am proud of our culture of collaboration and continuous learning and growth, commitment to mission, leadership by guiding principles and values, ensuring a constant and relentless focus on each child, and the proof that results and relationships can live side by side. The adults in our system understand that we need to be at our very best, every day, for our children and community. All that aside, my most fond memories will be of relationships with current and past staff and students, and the work we did on behalf of children.”

Berkeley said coming to terms that it was time to retire from his position was a hard one. 

“Perhaps the hardest sentence for me to say is “It’s time.” Letting go and admitting it’s time is more challenging when you love so much of what you do, especially the people,” he said. “ However, it is time for me to let go of this current trapeze in order to be able to grab onto the next trapeze of my life. I won’t be asking myself” what do I want to hang onto?” I am asking myself “How can I best serve and live my purpose?” My identity is intertwined with being a “superintendent.” That will go away, but my core values will remain faith, family, community, children, and service. 

Looking forward to increased time with his family but finding ways to continue to serve is what Berkley said is the next chapter of his life.

“I would imagine my future might hold the chance to continue being a “teacher and learner,” with only the students and content changing,” Berkeley said. “Being a teacher/learner has been more challenging these past nine-plus years as they have been filled with endless facilities commitments, educational campaigns, construction projects, and, of course, COVID-19.”

In his retirement statement, Berkley pointed out his gratitude to the school board, staff, and the community. 

“My overriding feeling is one of gratitude,” Berkeley said. “For a former supportive school board who remained true to our mission of each and every child succeeding, regardless of any “label” or distinction. Thank you for taking a chance on a 57-year-old Lunenburg native and giving me a chance to make a difference in the lives of Lunenburg County children and make the needed changes to move our school division forward and progress to where we are.”