His career started at Loudoun County High School immediately after college. At the end of his contract next June, he will leave with 47 years of institutional memory.
He knows everything from “the curriculum to the HVAC [system] to who the janitor at Waterford Elementary School is,” said schools spokesman Wayde Byard. “He can tell you about construction plans and how to do a reading program right.”
Hatrick took over as Loudoun’s superintendent in 1991, and his tenure has been an unusual luxury for the suburban district. The average stint for a superintendent nationally is closer to six years, according to the American Association of School Administrators.
Other Washington area districts will also have transitions at the top. A new schools chief is assuming the top post in Fairfax County in July, and a search is underway for a new leader in Prince George’s County.
For 22 years as superintendent, Hatrick laid the academic framework that many say helped lead to the county’s astonishing residential boom. Under his leadership, the school system grew from 15,000 students in 1991 to a projected enrollment of more than 70,000 next school year. He oversaw the construction of 30 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and nine high schools.
Along the way, Loudoun became a national model for energy-efficient school construction and for many of its instructional programs, including arts and foreign-language offerings, and the use of technology in the classroom.
In recent years, Hatrick has waged pitched battles to secure funding for the growing school system. Spending per student for the coming fiscal year is $11,637, down from $12,780 in 2009.
The pressure to make deep cuts in the school budget has mounted since the November 2011 election, when a slate of Republican candidates swept the county Board of Supervisors.
That same election also saw a majority of fiscally conservative newcomers to the school board. The school board members slashed Hatrick’s proposed fiscal 2013 budget by more than $12 million.
This year, the supervisors expected to make even greater reductions. After after an initial round of cuts, the supervisors adopted a county budget that left the school system facing a shortfall of more than $15 million.
After a second year of charged budget discussions, Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) called for a change “at the top” of the school system during the county board’s final budget work sessions in March.