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Mark Steele announces retirement; Jay Owens promoted to Indian River superintendent

The Indian River School District says goodbye to Superintendent Mark Steele this week.

Mark Steele has been superintendent since 2017.  He recently announced he’s retiring effective on Tuesday, June 30,2020.

Steele says the decision allows him to do things that his job kept him from doing.


“My family really wanted me to consider it - they thought that after 39 years as an administrator, they know there have been great times and they know there have been rough times being an administrator and they thought - you know, you’re 61, retire,” said Steele.

Indian River passed a referendum in February after back-to-back failed tries in 2019 - and Steele says that makes the timing right to retire.


“The driving force that pushed me to push the button and write the letter (of retirement)," saud Steele. "I don’t have any unfinished business.”

Assistant superintendent Jay Owens takes over as superintendent Wednesday and says he realizes managing district growth remains a priority.


“We’ve got to evolve with our community and with that is the growth," said Owens. "So we’ve got two buildings on the horizon currently - Howard T. Ennis (in Georgetown) - then a large-build - a 2,200 student high school on the same grounds as the current Sussex Central High School.” 

Owens says those projects, funded by the February referendum, will take the next four to five years to complete.


And Owens is excited for Mark Steele and the next chapter in his own career.


“I’ve worked with him for a long time and I know that he has been thinking about retirement," said Owens. "So when the time came, I was very excited for him and excited for the potential opportunity for myself also and to help to lead the Indian River School District.”

Owens has been an Indian River School District educator for more than 20 years and the district’s assistant superintendent since July 2018.

Owens will be Indian River’s seventh superintendent since the district was created in 1969.

The district has posted the assistant superintendent’s position and has begun an immediate search for candidates to fill that post.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.