Dennis Runyan, superintendent of the Agua Fria Union High School District for the last dozen years, announced he is retiring.
Runyan will continue to lead the district through the end of the year, providing time for a search committee to find his replacement.
“On behalf of the Agua Fria Union High School District school board, we wish Dr. Runyan continued success as he transitions this summer,” said Vickie Landis, the board president.
“We appreciate his 18 years of service as a principal and most recently as our district superintendent of schools,” Landis said, adding that JG Consulting Group will assist in the search for the new district leader.
Runyan called the chance to be superintendent of the district “a blessing and an honor. Being involved with a district and community experiencing continuous growth has been challenging to find and retain quality educators and support staff,” he added.
Agua Fria Union High School District was established in 1955. The district serves the communities of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield, Waddell and part of Glendale with its five high schools: Agua Fria, Canyon View, Desert Edge, Millennium and Verrado, as well as two alternative schools.
During Runyan’s time as leader of the district, Agua Fria has struggled to keep pace with the explosive growth of the West Valley.
Runyan said community support has been crucial.
“As you can imagine, adding close to 4,000 students over the past decade required support of the community for bonds and overrides, which has directly translated into innovative opportunities and exciting experiences to expand educational services,” he said. “Through this journey we have seen career pathways expand from 15 programs to over 28 pathways and advanced placement programs have also expanded with the inclusion of the International Baccalaureate program and AP expansion.
“None of this work would be achievable without quality educators in our schools and community.”
Of high importance to Runyan is not just the high school experience, but how it is a building block for the future of students.
“I would suggest as a community, and even as a nation, we still have a way to go in understanding the economic value of an educated workforce in relationship to our investment in public education,” Runyan said.
“I’ve met the most amazing and talented students and their accomplishments continue to be worthy of our collective support.”
He plans to stay active in the West Valley education scene after he leaves Agua Fria.
“I am looking forward to continuing my adjunct work with Northern Arizona University in their Educational Leaders Program and seeking ways to develop teacher leaders for the next generation,” Runyan said.
“I have often shared with colleagues that the first day I was hired as a teacher was the greatest day of my career. I look forward to helping with this transition as the district moves into a bright future.”