FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Superintendent Dr. John L Colbert has announced his plan to retire at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. He made the announcement during his Superintendent’s Report to the Fayetteville Board of Education during their regular meeting on January 27.

“While Dr. Colbert’s announcement was not a surprise to us, his retirement in June of 2023 will most certainly mark the end of an era,” said Nika Waitsman, president of the Fayetteville Board of Education.

Dr. Colbert’s tenure as superintendent has been marked by “tremendous success,” according to a press release from the school district. Dr. Colbert led the district through the passage of the Focus on the Future 2020 bond restructuring in February of 2020 that enabled the district to undertake $114 million in renovation and construction projects that touch every school and campus.

The new construction also includes a new middle school on Rupple Road that will open in 2023.

“I was truly given an opportunity to realize a dream,” said Dr. Colbert. “Leading the district where I spent my career and raised my family is truly a blessing. Together, we have accomplished great things.  I want to thank the school board for trusting me with this opportunity to lead.  We have made a difference in the lives of children, families, and our community.”

Dr. Colbert is the twelfth superintendent of Fayetteville Public Schools. In his ground-breaking 46 year career, 43 years with Fayetteville Public Schools, he has served as the district’s first African-American special education teacher, the first African-American principal, and the first African-American superintendent.  He is also the first FPS staff member to rise through the ranks from teacher to principal to assistant superintendent to superintendent.