- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 19, 2005

Edgar B. Hatrick III has steadily led Loudoun County’s school district for the past 14 years, as other area school systems struggle to find and keep superintendents.

“Obviously, I love my work,” Mr. Hatrick said. “Loudoun County is challenging and exciting. Folks who are moving here by the hundreds of thousands have a high expectation of the schools.”

Loudoun County, the sixth fastest-growing school system in the country, is also the fastest-growing district in Virginia and the fifth largest of the 135 districts in the state.

The county recently had to hire about 700 more teachers to accommodate its 47,350 students in 68 schools, including the recently opened Briar Woods and Freedom high schools and Legacy, Newton-Lee and Pinebrook elementary schools.

Officials also built a new school administration building in Ashburn, the first time the superintendent and the administrative staff have worked in the same building. Last year, they worked in the kitchen and cafeteria of Leesburg Elementary School.

“I only had to whisper, and the secretaries could hear me,” Mr. Hatrick said.

He has a much longer history with Loudoun County schools, though he has been the superintendent for 14 years. He started attending classes there in 1958 when his parents moved from Astoria, N.Y., and enrolled him in the eighth grade.

The county had no middle or junior high schools then, and its two high schools were segregated. Black students attended Douglass High School, and white students attended Loudoun County High School.

Mr. Hatrick, now 60, graduated from Loudoun High in 1963 with aspirations of becoming a surgeon but has no regrets. “Something in me aimed at teaching,” he said.

After he graduated from the University of Richmond, he became an English teacher at his alma mater, then briefly served as an assistant principal at Broad Run High School before he returned to Loudoun High as the principal.

Three years later, Mr. Hatrick was promoted to the school system’s director of special education. “I learned more about how children learn in special education than in any other position,” he said.

He and wife Betty have three children: Elizabeth, Edgar B. Hatrick IV, and William. Elizabeth and William are teachers at North Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, and Edgar IV is a lawyer.

Mr. Hatrick, whose annual salary is almost $200,000, will be eligible for a new, four-year contract in July. The Virginia General Assembly recognized his efforts in February by passing a commendation that praised his leadership of students, who every year score well above state and national averages on achievement tests and the SATs.

Loudoun County’s growth is expected to continue, with officials preparing for about 16,000 more students by 2009.

“We recruit teachers all year long,” Mr. Hatrick said. “Teachers now work so much harder at knowing what the kids’ needs are. In the 1960s, they didn’t do as much to know what was going on in kids’ lives as we do now.”

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