Tag Archives: Retirement

‘Beloved’ Berkeley schools leader to retire after 25 years

Neil Smith will retire after 25 years of service. Photo: Berkeley Unified School District
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A 25-year veteran of the Berkeley public school system will retire later this year, officials announced last week at the Berkeley School Board meeting on Wednesday.

Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Donald Evans announced the upcoming retirement of Assistant Superintendent Neil Smith, who is set to step down in four months. Smith may continue on in a consulting role with Berkeley Unified, though details on that have not been released.

Evans said he had received the news from Smith reluctantly.

“This has been very, very difficult for me,” said Evans, “because he has been my right hand, and I truly do not know what I would have done without him as I transitioned into Berkeley. He’s always been there.” … Continue reading »

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Fire chief retires after 27 years, with many ‘firsts’

Debra Pryor
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Looking back on her nearly three decades at the Berkeley Fire Department, Chief Debra Pryor said her philosophy has been to tune out her detractors, take the support that’s been offered to her, and keep the spotlight focused on her team, rather than on herself.

Pryor, 51, retires Friday, Dec. 28, from the Berkeley Fire Department. Deputy Chief Gil Dong will serve as interim chief on a temporary basis.

She’s been a trailblazer in her field, as the nation’s second black female fire chief. In Berkeley, she was the city’s first female firefighter, paramedic and paramedic supervisor, and the first woman to hold the titles of lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, deputy chief and fire chief.

Pryor said it’s an aspect of her work that, frankly, she doesn’t think much about. She describes her job as “managing my resources to get all the things accomplished that need to be accomplished.”

“I would much rather shine the light on others than myself,” she added. “It keeps me humble.” … Continue reading »

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