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Steele retires from Indian River School District

Delaware News Desk
Sussex Countian
Sussex Countian

Indian River School District Superintendent Mark Steele has retired effective June 30.

The Indian River Board of Education has appointed Jack F. “Jay” Owens, previously assistant superintendent, to replace him.

Steele has been working as both a teacher and administrator in the district since 1981. After beginning his career as a math and physics teacher at Indian River High School, he went on to be the assistant principal and principal there. He became assistant superintendent in 2013 and superintendent in January 2017.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the Indian River School District for the past 39 years,” Steele said. “Retirement was a very difficult decision, but it’s the right one for my family and me.”

Accomplishments during his tenure include the difficult passages of a current expense referendum in 2017 and a major capital improvement referendum in 2020.

“It has been a privilege to work with Dr. Owens for the past two years. He is truly a talented educator and the right man to lead the Indian River School District moving forward,” Steele said.

Owens will be Indian River’s seventh superintendent since its formation in 1969. The district has almost 12,000 students.

“It’s humbling to be chosen to follow in the footsteps of so many great IRSD superintendents and I thank the board of education for this tremendous opportunity,” Owens said. I also want to thank Mark Steele for his many years of dedicated service and leadership to the Indian River School District. Mr. Steele guided the district through many challenges during the past three and half years and he did so with conviction, enthusiasm and optimism. He is the epitome of a leader and I wish him the best in retirement.”

Owens, himself a Sussex Central graduate, holds a doctorate of education from the University of Delaware, a master’s from Wilmington College and a bachelor’s from Salisbury University.

He began his career in the Indian River School District in 2000 and served six years as a teacher at North Georgetown Elementary School and the Richard Allen School. He was Richard Allen’s Teacher of the Year twice.

Owens also was an assistant principal at a handful of district schools. He was principal of Sussex Central High School from January 2011 until June 2014.

Owens made the move to the district office in 2014, serving as director of various departments until 2018, when he was named assistant superintendent. The district has begun to search for candidates to fill the vacancy.