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Superintendent Daniel Warwick Announces Retirement after a Distinguished 48 Year Career

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Springfield Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Daniel Warwick announced today that after an illustrious 48-year career dedicated to continual improvement of education in Springfield, Warwick is set to retire at the end of the school year.

Warwick, a lifelong Springfield resident from the Hungry Hill neighborhood, began his journey in education as a day-to-day substitute teacher, marking the start of an extraordinary career that has left an indelible mark on the Springfield Public School system.  He would go on to work as a special education teacher, coordinator and supervisor.  Warwick also served as Principal of Glenwood School, one of the lowest performing schools in the state at the time.  Then Principal Warwick, led the school to become one of the highest performing high-poverty urban schools in the state during his 13-year tenure as principal there. Under his leadership, the school earned more accolades than any school in the district before or since then, including two Title 1 Distinguished School awards, a Commonwealth Compass award, and the nationally coveted Blue-Ribbon Award.

Warwick has been recognized for his leadership and professionalism throughout his career, earning him regional and national distinction.  Most recently, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents honored Warwick in 2023 with its prestigious President’s Award.

"I am deeply honored and privileged to have spent my entire 48-year career in the city I was born and raised in and that I deeply love," expressed Superintendent Warwick. "It has been a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and the unwavering support of an incredible community."

Mayor Sarno states, “Bitter-sweet, Dan Warwick has been a great friend and a tremendous Superintendent for our Springfield Public Schools.  We had an excellent working relationship and together we were able to accomplish and advance so many positive outcomes, programs, initiatives and improvements in our district.  He will be dearly missed.  I wish him continued success and good health on a well-deserved retirement.”

“I have no doubts that Superintendent Warwick will go down as one of the best superintendents our city has ever had, if not the best.  Always the gentleman and professional, he fostered good working relationships with staff, teachers, parents and students.  He has a great story to tell too, working his way up as a teacher and principal to superintendent in his hometown – he is truly Springfield born, bred, and proud!  With Superintendents dropping left and right in our state, Dan’s tenure has been truly remarkable with his visionary strategy, and stable leadership,” said Mayor Sarno. 

As Superintendent, Warwick oversaw every aspect of the district, which includes an annual operating budget of more than $790 million, managing over 60 public schools, with approximately over 5,000 employees, and more than 23,000 students. 

Superintendent Warwick's tenure has been characterized by a steadfast commitment to educational excellence. Under his leadership, Springfield's schools have achieved milestones that have garnered local, state, and national recognition.  Strategic initiatives and targeted interventions implemented under Warwick’s leadership led to a graduation rate increase that soared from 56.4 percent to 84.6 percent, and a dramatic reduction in the dropout rate from 10 percent to 3.9 percent. These markers, largely considered the most important measures in public education, represent the biggest improvement in the state.

Warwick’s steadfast leadership was never more needed than during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic which forced our local public schools to close and transition into remote virtual learning.  Thanks to his leadership, the district had a 92.2 percent student attendance rate at the height of the pandemic.  During this time, he also oversaw the upgrades to the ventilation systems in every school, surpassing state minimum requirements for enhanced safety. 

Through it all, Warwick and his team kept the district running smoothly. 

Some highlights from his tenure as Superintendent include:

  • Significantly increasing the district’s graduation rate from 56.4% to 84.6%
  • Drastic reduction in the dropout rate from over 10% to 3.9%
  • Improvements in state achievement gap in every subject and student category, establishing Springfield as the highest performing urban school high-poverty district.  The state even acknowledged the city has made significant growth.
  • Oversaw the investment of nearly $1 billion worth of construction and renovation, including eight (8) new schools being built.
  • Strong advocate for the Arts in Education:  established the Springfield Conservatory of the Arts School and secured funding for arts and music programs across all schools.
  • Implementing the first in the state free universal full-day pre-K program.
  • Over 9.2 million meals served to SPS students during the COVID-19 pandemic (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack).
  • First urban district in the state to go 1:1 with student laptops, helping to narrow the digital divide gap.
  • Over 20,000 laptops distributed to students for remote learning.
  • iPads distributed to pre-K students during pandemic.
  • Portrait of a Graduate for High School seniors.
  • Collaboration with Davis Foundation and Springfield Public Libraries for “Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade Program”.
  • Established the Springfield Virtual School.
  • Enhanced staff diversity at every level within the district.
  • Commitment to fostering positive school environment led to a 95 percent drop in school-based arrest and a 75 percent decrease in suspensions.

Warwick ends his tenure as the longest-serving urban superintendent in the Commonwealth.  Reflecting on his success, he expressed his gratitude: "I thank the incredible staff, the committed School Committee members, and my outstanding leadership team for their unwavering support and dedication. Together, we have achieved great things, and I am immensely proud of the positive impact we have had on the lives of the students in Springfield."

Superintendent Warwick also acknowledged the leadership of Mayor Domenic Sarno, stating, "It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as part of the Mayor Domenic Sarno Administration. The city has experienced an incredible renaissance under his leadership, and our schools are an integral part of that success."

As Superintendent Warwick is set to retire at the end of the school year, Mayor Sarno, as Chair for the School Committee, will create an ad hoc committee to begin the process of selecting the next Superintendent. 

“The next superintendent will have some big shoes to fill but will have an outstanding and solid foundation to build upon as we continue to move our Springfield Public Schools forward for the betterment of all our children, their families, and our city” added Mayor Sarno.  “As I have done before with previous Superintendent searches, I will create an ad hoc committee to begin this process.  I will name School Committee Vice Chair Joesiah Gonzalez and School Committee members Barbara Gresham and Chris Collins to lead the ad hoc Superintendent Search Committee.” 

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm