David Rogers, who has served as principal of Sutherland Middle School since 2006, will retire at the end of this school year.

“It has been a privilege to have served the families of the Commonwealth for more than four decades,” Rogers said. “I may be a bit biased, but there is no more rewarding career than to assist the leaders of our future generations with the discovery of knowledge and of their own potential to reach their highest personal and professional aspirations.”

During his tenure at Sutherland, Rogers led the middle school to Standards of Learning test scores that outpaced state averages, as well as a Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence in 2011. In 2013-14, the Virginia Board of Education honored Sutherland with a Distinguished Achievement Award.

Matt Haas, Albemarle’s assistant superintendent, praised Rogers for his commitment to project-based learning.

“With Dave as its principal, Sutherland has aggressively moved its curriculum to emphasize such important skills as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication among its students,” Haas said. “These all are attributes that enhance the competitiveness of our graduates in a challenging global environment.”

Recently, students in the school’s mechatronics program created the world’s first 3D-printed telegraph, which attracted attention from the Smithsonian Institution. Sutherland is now one of three Smithsonian Schools in the United States.

Rogers’ career began in 1969 in the Isle of Wight school division in eastern Virginia. In 1983, Charlottesville City Schools named him an assistant principal. Since then Rogers has served a principal in five different schools in Charlottesville and Albemarle.

The out-going principal said he’s seen education change a great deal since his first day on the job.

“Knowledge has expanded, technology has evolved, and performance standards have increased,” Rogers said. “The constants always have been the unparalleled dedication of teachers and staff to students and the ability of students to astound us with their achievements.”

“While I will miss the excitement and energy I see in our classrooms every day, I look forward to spending more time with my family and more time engaging in some knowledge discovery of my own,” Rogers added.

Haas said the division will begin a new principal search immediately, and noted that the search will include a community survey.