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Assistant Superintendent James Angelo Announces His Retirement

After serving ten years as the Frederick County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Dr. James Angelo has announced his retirement effective July 1, 2024.

Angelo says his decision to retire is bittersweet. While he is excited to spend time with family, especially his four grandkids, he will miss his FCPS family. "I love this community. I love this school division. And I love working to make things better for kids," Angelo said. “I will miss the people. I'll miss the kids. I'll miss going into classrooms and seeing the amazing things that are happening in there and the excitement on our students’ faces.”

Dr. Angelo has devoted his life to doing what's best for kids. After teaching in Pennsylvania for two years, Angelo began his career with FCPS as a special education teacher at James Wood Middle School (JWMS) in 1994. In 2000, he assumed the role of assistant principal at JWMS. In 2003, he was hired as a principal to oversee the opening of Auburn Middle School, a brand new middle school in Fauquier County. Angelo accepted that challenge head on and created a culture and community within the school that was unparalleled. In 2008, he returned to Frederick County Public Schools as the director of middle and secondary instructional services. Angelo became the FCPS Assistant Superintendent of Instruction in 2014.

"We are profoundly grateful for Dr. Angelo’s contributions to making Frederick County Public Schools the exceptional school division it is today," Superintendent Dr. George Hummer said. "Throughout his tenure as FCPS Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Dr. Angelo has exemplified unwavering dedication, passion and innovation. He will leave behind a legacy of transformative leadership, shaping the minds and futures of countless students and continuously enhancing teaching and learning. Above all else, Dr. Angelo exemplifies what it means to be a champion for all kids. He will be dearly missed, but his impact will continue for generations."

Looking back on his tenure as assistant superintendent for instruction, Angelo recalls with pride one of his most-valued accomplishments. “When I came into this role, we had multiple schools that were not meeting state accreditation standards. We poured our hearts into those schools. By supporting the leadership teams in implementing research-based instructional practices, we built a can-do culture and focused on the learning, knowing that the test scores would follow. And they did.”

During Angelo’s tenure, FCPS adopted the division’s strategic plan Inspire 2025: A Promise for Progress. Angelo identifies the development and implementation of the plan as some of his most meaningful work. “The goal of Inspire 2025 is to teach students to think for themselves, work collaboratively with others and be creative problem solvers,” Angelo said.

“There is a level of common, basic knowledge that students need. But if that’s all we teach them, we have done them a significant disservice. Because, no matter where they end up and what career they pursue, they need to be able to interact with people, be a member of a team, solve problems and be creative. Many of the project-based learning experiences students have had as a result of Inspire 2025 have taught them these valuable concepts.”

As FCPS continues to implement Inspire 2025, teachers are encouraged to focus on meaningful learning experiences so students can dive into things that interest them and learn the content that way. “One of the greatest things we can do is give teachers autonomy so they can instill that autonomy in their students. When that happens, learning flourishes. It's exciting to see it in action,” Angelo said.

Over the years, Angelo has served as a mentor to countless educators and has mastered the art of growing successful teams. “It’s all about trusting people and allowing them to be creative problem solvers,” he said. “As an example, we’ve been talking about offering a culinary arts program in our community for a long time, but space and cost were the biggest issues. And by giving leaders the freedom to problem solve and get creative, we can now provide this opportunity to our students.”

Angelo offers the following advice to educators. “Believe in your kids, trust your kids, and believe that they can do more than you think they can do. Challenge your kids in a way that inspires them to want to grow and learn. Most importantly, don't lose sight of why we're here - the kids.”

Angelo’s role as mentor has not been limited to adults. Since he returned to FCPS in 2008, he’s mentored a student every year. He considers this a priceless experience.

Looking ahead, Angelo hopes the next iteration of the strategic plan builds on the successful work already being done. “We’ve progressed to a really good place, but we’re not there yet. There's always more to do, and we have a collective responsibility to cultivate continuous growth.”

“I'll keep up with what happens here because I care,” Angelo said. “I'll be interested to see where the kids in this community go. We're moving in the right direction, and we need to keep going.”