Superintendent James Lane leaves Chesterfield for state job

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Less than two years after he was named superintendent of Chesterfield Public Schools, Dr. James Lane is getting a new job.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday he has appointed Lane as Virginia’s next State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

"Dr. Lane’s experience as a superintendent, school administrator and teacher has given him the deep grounding in education that a state superintendent needs. I want Virginia to be a state where every child, every person, in every community, has access to opportunity, and that includes the opportunity for a great education," Governor Northam said. "I believe Dr. Lane is the person to carry out that commitment and ensure that Virginia’s students are getting the best education in the nation."

Before he led Chesterfield Schools, Lane was Superintendent for Goochland County Public Schools and Middlesex County Public Schools.

"I am honored to be selected for this important position, which plays such a vital role in the direction of our Commonwealth’s education system and our economy," Dr. Lane said in a statement. "I look forward to supporting Governor Northam’s vision for an education system that gives every child a shot at a successful life, no matter who they are or where they live."

Chesterfield Schools will appoint former Middlesex County School Superintendent Donald "Rusty" Fairheart as the county's interim superintendent at a special meeting called for May 29.

"The School Board is excited to have a leader with Mr. Fairheart's credentials ready to continue our important work," Chesterfield School Board Chair John Erbach said. "Since joining us, Mr. Fairheart has immersed himself in our school division’s efforts, and we have full confidence in his ability to close out the current school year strong and continue preparations for the 2018-19 school year."

Earlier this year, Henrico Schools Superintendent Pat Kinlaw announced his plan to retire. The county said it hoped to name the new superintendent by July 1.