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Sovine named schools superintendent

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David T. Sovine

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Educator, 43, approved unanimously by board members, boasts 21 years of experience

By J.R. Williams - jrwilliams@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A veteran educator from Spotsylvania County has been selected as the next superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools.

Officials named David T. Sovine, 43, as the top pick of 30 applicants in a nationwide search that has spanned several months. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon at a special meeting of the Frederick County School Board.

Sovine will succeed Superintendent Patricia Taylor, who announced her retirement in February. He assumes the post July 1.

"We've got a winner here," said Stuart Wolk, School Board chairman. "It's a tough act to follow with Patty ... but they both come from an instructional background, and they're not going to settle for less than the best."

Sovine currently serves as the executive director of K-12 curriculum and secondary education with Spotsylvania County Public Schools in Fredericksburg.

He has 21 years of experience in public education, beginning as an elementary physical education teacher in Chesterfield County, and has served as assistant principal and principal at the elementary and high school level. Sovine was named executive director of secondary education for Spotsylvania County in July 2009 and was promoted to his current position in July 2010.

School Board members unanimously approved the appointment Tuesday before a scheduled news conference.

"To be selected as the new superintendent is just an honor," Sovine said. "I can share with you that just the reputation that the school board, the county government, the teachers and the leadership team have established over the last decade is quite impressive."

Sovine said his wife, Kelly, and twin daughters, Brooke and Morgan, will be relocating to Frederick County soon. He cited the school system's reputation at the state level, local quality of life, and the proximity of Shenandoah University and James Madison University as factors that attracted him to the area.

Wolk said the School Board engaged in "healthy debate" over the pick as the candidate field was narrowed from 30 to 13. Eventually, six people were interviewed and three were called back, but Wolk declined to identify who made the short list.

"You get a sense of someone and their ability to collaborate with people," Wolk said. "Dave seems incredibly genuine to us. All of his references made reference to his collaborative style."

Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Ltd. was contracted to lead the superintendent search, which included public input presented in a report to the School Board in April.

After the meeting, Sovine named full-day kindergarten as an issue he would address. Implementing a full-day program has been a priority for the School Board for some time.

"I know that's something that staff and the board is committed to, so I'm looking forward to really beginning to do some committee work ... to look at where we are in that process and how we begin to develop an action plan to address that issue."

He said building on the school system's "transparent" relationship with teachers will help bolster retention, an issue he called a priority.

"I think we all recognize that nationally with the recession and budget downturns, it's been quite challenging," he said. "So it's important that we develop strong relationships with our teachers [and] we hear what those challenges are."

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