Capital taps Christina principal for superintendent job

DOVER — The Capital School District Board of Education has offered the position of superintendent to Dr. Dan Shelton.

The school board approved Dr. Shelton in a 3-1 vote at their meeting Wednesday night. Board member John C. Martin Jr. cast the lone vote against the motion.

Dr. Shelton will take over for Dr. Michael Thomas, who announced his retirement in September. Dr. Thomas is set to step down June 30 after 14 years in the district.

Dan Shelton

Dan Shelton

For the past 11 years, Dr. Shelton worked as principal in the Christina School District. Before that, he was a teacher in Wilmington.

Board president Kay Dietz-Sass said that while the board just started discussing Dr. Shelton’s contract with him on Thursday morning, “I am certain we can work something out that will be amicable to both the district and to Dr. Shelton.”

“His experience has certainly groomed him to be a high level administrator and I believe Capital is very lucky to have him,” she said in an email to the press.

“Our hope is Dr. Shelton will be spending some time very soon in our district as he wraps things up in Christina.”

After their regular public meeting, the board went into private session to discuss the superintendent vote Wednesday. When they reconvened at 10:45 p.m. to make a motion, Mr. Martin said, “There is an unreadiness.”

“… I feel we have the opportunity to take the district into a bold new direction,” he explained. “I cannot and will not support the candidate that was put forth for superintendent.”

Mr. Lindell countered that the candidate will “continue the successes that we’ve had and (improve) the areas of opportunities that we still need to address.

“I’m optimistic,” he said.

“Not to belabor the point,” Mr. Martin replied, “but I’m equally pessimistic and disappointed and think that we can do a better job.”

“This is a grand opportunity,” he continued, “and frankly, I think would be also a great opportunity to revisit the posting and consider reposting for the position of superintendent.”

Ms. Dietz-Sass said Thursday that the qualities that stood out to her in Dr. Shelton included the relationships he built with students, families and staff, his thorough understanding of the budget and his experience with policies.

“I feel as though he will be able to keep the momentum going in Capital. I just hope that everyone welcomes him into the Capital family,” she said.

“He’s got a great background, a lot of great references … and he’s home grown in Delaware. I don’t think it gets any better than that.”

Dr. Shelton has served as president of the Delaware Association of School Principals and the Delaware Association of School Administrators. In 2012, he was named Delaware’s National Distinguished Principal.

A Delaware native, Dr. Shelton was born in Wilmington and attended University of Delaware, where he also earned his doctorate in educational leadership and public policy.

His wife Cara is a teacher and they have three children together.

Dr. Thomas’ retirement won’t be the only change in the district office this summer; assistant superintendent Sandy Spangler and supervisor of human resources Dave Vaughan will also be leaving.
Ms. Dietz-Sass’ term is also up this month. Voters elected Ralph Taylor to take her seat on the school board.

The district celebrated her eight years on the board at her last meeting Wednesday with a recess for cake and punch.

In his remarks at the celebration, Mr. Lindell said that whenever he called her, every conversation centered around “what’s best for the district and what’s best for the kids.”

“When I thought about being on the board of education, I thought, ‘What am I going to do to make a difference?’” board member Sean Christiansen remembered, “and then I looked at Kay. Take the interest of your kids and expand it to 6,000 kids.”

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