Chandler USD Superintendent Camille Casteel announced in a letter to families Dec. 10 she will retire at the end of this school year, June 30, 2021.

"It is time," Casteel wrote. "While this is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make, after 50 years in CUSD, I feel the time is right."

Casteel joined the the district in 1971. She taught first grade at both Erie and Knox elementary schools, according to the district. She became the district’s first female principal in 1983, at Weinberg Elementary School. In 1986, she joined the district’s administrative team as the assistant superintendent. She was promoted to associate superintendent in 1991 and five years later, in 1996, she was selected as the district’s first-ever female superintendent.

"When I began my teaching career at Erie Elementary in 1971, CUSD had six schools and approximately 5,000 students," Casteel said. "By 1996 when I became the superintendent, we had grown to approximately 15,000 students and 17 schools. Today we serve over 44,000 students and will be opening our 47th school. I have been deeply honored to have served as CUSD’s leader during the 25-year period of hyper growth and to have had the opportunity to champion the development of numerous educational choices for the families we serve. We have accomplished so much, and I will treasure so many wonderful memories."

Casteel said she knows the district has a "great deal" to accomplish in her final months as superintendent.

"I look forward to beginning the recovery and then handing the reins to CUSD’s next leader," Casteel said. "I am confident the governing board will find just the right person to succeed me."

Gov. Doug Ducey in a tweet said he was grateful to Casteel for her decades of service.

"As Superintendent, Dr. Casteel has an unwavering commitment to helping students grow and preparing them for their next endeavors," Ducey tweeted. "Dr. Casteel has been an incredible partner on numerous efforts to best serve Arizona kids—closing the achievement gap, responding to the pandemic, expanding opportunities for students, and more more."