Fairburn honored as superintendent of year

Published 10:19 am Friday, December 4, 2015

Darrell Fairburn’s voice broke as he attempted to voice his appreciation to all the well-wishers at Thursday’s reception at the Washington Parish School Board Office, honoring him for his recent selection as the 2016 Louisiana Superintendent of the Year.

Fairburn coached football, track and basketball at Sumner High School in Tangipahoa Parish for 17 years before arriving in Washington Parish. He is in his 10th year as head of the school system.

Fairburn’s family gathered around him as he addressed those in attendance.

“I hope I can get through this because I’m very emotional. I want to thank the Mayor (Wayne Fleming) for being here,” he said. “That means a lot to me. These people you see standing beside me are my family; they’re not behind me.

“I can’t thank you enough for the last 9.5 years and maybe a little longer. We celebrate for Washington Parish School System.”

Before the reception, Fairburn spoke at length about the honor.

“I’ve had several honors in several sports, but for this, I’m very humbled by it,” Fairburn said. “When I got into education, I thought I was going to coach for 30 years and retire. But the Lord sometimes has different ideas than we do. He led me here and opened the door for me.”

Fairburn said the award was for all the system’s employees.

“I accept this award on behalf of the school board members and 760 employees because they’re the ones who make it happen,” Fairburn said. “I just accept the award for them.”

School System Board President Matthew Tate said Fairburn was worthy of the recognition.

“I think it is one of the most significant and signature awards that has come through this parish,” Tate said. “I can’t think of any other greater award that I can recall. This shows the evidence of the kind of leadership that we work with. We have a very good working relationship.

“We don’t always see things eye to eye, but we have a mutual understanding that we can come to an understanding no matter the issue.”

Retired administrator Karen Spears worked with Fairburn for three years in her position as Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance. She said Fairburn was a joy to be around.

“He was very personable, easy to talk with and was interested in the welfare of his teachers,” Spears said. “You always knew he had your well being at heart.”