Prince William County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Steve Walts announces retirement

Dr. Steve Walts (Prince William County Public Schools)

Prince William County Public Schools superintendent announced Thursday that he plans to retire at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. 

In a letter addressed to the PWCPS community, Dr. Steve Walts said, "As the leader of Prince William County Public Schools, I have served our students, staff, parents, and community for over 15 years."

RELATED: Prince William County Schools superintendent under investigation over private messages with students

Walts says his retirement will officially begin on July 31, 2021. 

"I am doing this now to ensure the School Board has the time to select the next great Superintendent for Prince William County Public Schools," said Walts.

The Prince William County School Board shared the following statement after Walts' announcement: 

"The Prince William County School Board is beginning a nationwide search for a new superintendent to succeed Dr. Steven L. Walts, who has announced his intention to retire when his current employment contract expires on June 30, 2021. Dr. Walts has served as Division Superintendent for the Prince William County Public Schools since 2005.

“I greatly appreciate Dr. Walts’ more than 15 years of leadership and service as the Superintendent of the Prince William County Public Schools,” said Board Chair Dr. Babur B. Lateef. “The School Board will be working non-stop during this process to identify the best possible individual to carry on the important job of directing our schools at one of the most challenging and critical times in our history.”

The Prince William County Schools system, which is the second largest In Virginia and the 35th largest in the nation, serves more than 91,000 students and employs more than 6,000 teachers among its workforce of more than 11,000.

Dr. Lateef also said Dr. Walts will be remembered for a significant increase in the on-time graduation rate, creation of full-day kindergarten, and the building of 25 new schools, all during a period that saw student enrollment nearly double.  “I wish Dr. Walts and his family well as he transitions into a well-deserved retirement,” Dr. Lateef said."

RELATED: Hundreds per hour being spent on investigation into Prince William County Schools superintendent

Earlier this year, FOX 5's Tisha Lewis reported that hundreds of taxpayer dollars were being spent to investigate private messages Walts reportedly sent to students after hours.

Walts defended himself in a video he posted on Twitter and then temporarily suspended his account.

“This communication channel has helped thousands of individuals with the assistance they needed. This includes students in crisis, teachers who have expressed concern, and parents needing help. It has been an important and useful resource,” said Walts.