RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia’s top public schools administrator is retiring.

The Department of Education said in a news release Monday that Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Staples will retire effective Jan. 1.

Staples has served as the commonwealth’s chief school officer since March 2014, when he was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The department says the statewide, four-year graduation rate rose to above 90 percent during Staples’ tenure.

He also oversaw reforms of the state’s school accreditation system and the expansion of computer-adaptive testing.

Prior to his appointment as state superintendent, Staples was executive director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. He also served as superintendent of York County Public Schools for 16 years.

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