Superintendent Matt Haas is staying at the helm of the Albemarle County school division for at least another four years.
The county School Board recently voted to approve an addendum to Haas’ contract, first signed in September 2017, that extends the agreement to June 2025. The contract previously would have ended June 30, 2022. Four years is the maximum term length allowed in state code.
The contract extension bumps Haas’ annual salary up to $197,889 from $190,278, effective July 1, according to a copy of the addendum provided to The Daily Progress. The agreement was unanimously approved at the start of the board’s May 27 work session following a closed meeting.
“Through my time here, I gain a greater and greater appreciation for the outstanding educators and support staff who are constantly striving to provide high-quality experiences for our students and families,” Haas said in an interview. “I’m really glad that the board has decided to allow me to stay longer, so that I can continue to work with my colleagues in the families and community available.”
Haas has worked in the county division for 17 years and both of his children attended Albemarle schools.
Though he was appointed superintendent in September 2017, Haas didn’t officially take over until July 1, 2018. He was previously the deputy superintendent.
In his time as superintendent, Haas has led the division through the pandemic, overseen the drafting and implementation of an anti-racism policy, started changing the grading system and worked to ban the Confederate flag from the dress code, among other changes.
Board Chairman Graham Paige said the board is pleased with Haas’ leadership.
“His leadership has really been tremendous ever since we hired him,” Paige said in an interview. “He’s provided good guidance during at least the two or three pretty major crises or problems that the board faced, and the last one was really the pandemic. Just the central office staff working through all of those circumstances, and on some days having to make plans within like two or three days of how to move forward. Just his guidance, especially during this year, has been really tremendous.”
Haas said he didn’t want to wait until the final year of his contract to start talking with the board about an extension.
“I wanted our School Board to know that I enjoyed our relationship and hoped it will continue,” he said.
Extending the contract now provides consistency and stability for the division, Haas said.
Paige echoed that.
“It gives him some reassurance by moving it forward,” he said. “It really would be an advantage to both the board and to him to advance [the contract] at this time.”
As for the next four years, Haas said he’s looking forward to the rollout of the division’s new strategic plan, which will be presented to the School Board during its annual retreat Friday, as well as a change to the county’s human resources department. The county and school district are studying how to separate the jointly run department so each entity has its own department.
Haas said the strategic plan will be a true plan with metrics to hold the division accountable as it seeks to ensure that every student succeeds.
“The time for a school system that perpetuates a system of winners and losers is behind us,” he said. “… I believe every student can succeed and be the best they can be.”
Paige said implementing the strategic plan, continuing to work on the anti-racism policy, addressing overcrowding in the schools and expanding the number of academies in the county are key things he’s looking forward to in Haas’ next term.
“All of those things would be things that we think he would be ready, able and willing to lead us into during the next few years,” Paige said.