On Thursday, October 20th, Dallas Academy Headmaster Jim Richardson announced to the school community his plan to retire at the end of the 2016/17 academic year. Mr. Richardson is one of the longest-serving headmasters in Dallas. “It has been my honor to have worked with so many wonderful students, teachers, parents, administrators, and board members through the years. I feel privileged to have spent the majority of my career at Dallas Academy. Thank you for sharing these years with me. I will always consider myself a part of the Dallas Academy family.”
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Terry Welch, detailed Mr. Richardson’s exceptional contributions to the community over the past 34 years and announced that he will complete the academic year serving as headmaster. Mr. Welch shared with parents, “Jim has built a first class team dedicated to your children, their education, and creating opportunities for them. While the Board certainly understands Jim’s desire to spend more time with his wife Meg, their daughter, and his grandchildren, he nevertheless will be missed.”
During his 34 years at Dallas Academy and 40 years in education, Mr. Richardson has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of students with diagnosed learning differences. Mr. Richardson has restored the hope and promise for both academic and personal successes and helped ensure satisfying futures for his students. When Mr. Richardson took over the school in 1983, enrollment was down to 30 students and the school was struggling to find its identity. Mr. Richardson’s top priority became to keep the doors open any way possible to continue to serve students who would struggle in other academic settings. There was no job too big or too small that Mr. Richardson would not undertake to see the school survive and thrive. Mr. Richardson took on many roles during his tenure including those of headmaster, admissions director, tour guide, coach, accountant, curriculum supervisor, chaperone, and even bus driver. Through his dedication and exemplary leadership, Mr. Richardson has turned Dallas Academy into a leading voice in the learning different community which now educates over 200 students annually. Mr. Richardson was instrumental in securing an endowment fund to support future school growth. Mr. Richardson oversaw a successful merger with the Lattner School in 2005 which expanded enrollment to students in the first through twelfth grades. Mr. Richardson led the Expand the Possibilities! Capital Campaign and campus expansion in 2008. In 2013, Mr. Richardson celebrated his thirtieth anniversary at Dallas Academy. Dallas Academy celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2016, making it the oldest school in Texas to serve students with learning disabilities. Mr. Richardson’s leadership has enabled the school to transform the campus, incorporate cutting-edge curriculum and technology to better serve students with learning challenges, and greatly expand extracurricular offerings. More important than any statistic, Mr. Richardson has created a climate on campus where every student, parent, and faculty member feels known, heard, and valued as a vital member of the Dallas Academy community.
Mr. Welch announced that The Education Group has been retained to lead the selection process for a new headmaster and that a search committee has been formed to aid in the process. Dallas Academy looks forward to welcoming the community to celebrations honoring Mr. Richardson in the spring and more details will be forthcoming.
Please see below the full announcements to members of the Dallas Academy community.