Chandler schools superintendent retiring after 50 years in district
PHOENIX — Chandler Unified School District will have a new superintendent for the first time in 25 years come 2021, as Camille Casteel will retire at the end of the current school year.
Casteel has worked within the district since 1971, first as a teacher at Erie Elementary School before assuming her current role in 1996.
She informed parents, staff and students of her decision in a letter on Thursday, saying the decision to retire from education was not easy.
“While this is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make, after 50 years in CUSD, I feel the time is right,” Casteel’s letter said.
Casteel expressed confidence in the district’s ability to find a worthy successor and tackle the current issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“As many of you may know, I am an optimist. With the pending distribution of vaccines, I see the light at the end of tunnel growing brighter,” Casteel said in the letter. “We have a great deal to accomplish over the next several months – all while staying true to our core values and focused on our Journey 2025 Metrics.
“I look forward to beginning the recovery and then handing the reins to CUSD’s next leader. I am confident the Governing Board will find just the right person to succeed me.”
Tributes poured in on Friday to recognize Casteel for her half-century career within the East Valley district, including a Twitter thread from Gov. Doug Ducey.
Ducey thanked Casteel for her steadfast service to the district, helping it grow to where it is today.
“As Superintendent, Dr. Casteel has an unwavering commitment to helping students grow and preparing them for their next endeavors,” Ducey said.
“Dr. Casteel has been an incredible partner on numerous efforts to best serve Arizona kids — closing the achievement gap, responding to the pandemic, expanding opportunities for students, and much more.”
Kathy Hoffman, who is the superintendent of public instruction in Arizona, also thanked Casteel for her work in education on Twitter, addressing the impact that the longtime superintendent had on the district and city of Chandler as a whole.
“Thank you [Dr. Casteel], for your decades of service to Chandler Unified School District,” Hoffman’s Tweet said. “Your leadership and expertise have positively impacted so many students, both in Chandler and across Arizona. You will be missed!”