Laboratory Schools Director Magill announces plans for 2014 retirement

David Magill, director of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, has announced that he plans to retire in June 2014, after serving 11 years leading the Schools.

The advance notification will give the Lab Schools time to conduct a thorough, national search for a successor, and provide for smooth leadership transition.

“Because we have such a superb faculty and staff, I am confident about Lab’s future,” Magill wrote, in a letter to the Lab community. “They remain professionally alive, focused on improving conditions for learning, while recognizing the importance of nurturing both the cognitive and affective domains of our students.”

“Under Dave’s leadership, the Schools have grown, thrived and extended the distinguished tradition of excellence. At the high school level, the academic curriculum has broadened and deepened, instructional time has increased and co-curricular opportunities have grown,” wrote John W. Rogers, Lab ’76, chairman of the Laboratory Schools Board of Directors, and David Greene, executive vice president of the University.

The Middle School, Lower School, Primary School, and Nursery/Kindergarten have been reorganized to allow each to focus on the best educational approach for each age group, Rogers and Greene wrote.

New capacity has been added to address students’ special needs. The student body is more diverse, financial aid has increased more than 300 percent, and the Schools’ endowment has doubled, they wrote.

Rogers and Greene pointed out that Magill has been instrumental in the current expansion of the Schools and the Lab+ campaign that has made it possible to create new facilities and improve existing ones to support the work of faculty and students.

“Over the next 18 months, we will have many opportunities to celebrate his leadership and the ongoing, exciting changes taking place at Lab,” they wrote.

Emily Buss, the Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law and a member of the Lab Schools Board of Directors, will chair the search effort. Members of the Lab Schools community may share their input with the search committee by sending an email to

“This is an extraordinary time at Lab,” Rogers and Greene wrote. “As we prepare to open the magnificent Earl Shapiro Hall, we are reminded of the many ways that Lab has reinvented itself since its founding in 1896. Despite its constant evolution, Lab always has been an integral part of the University of Chicago and reflective of the University’s enduring academic values and distinctive educational philosophy.

“We look forward to working with you to strengthen Lab’s future and to identify the next great Director for the Schools. In the meantime, we express our gratitude and appreciation to our Director, Dave Magill,” Rogers said.

Before joining Lab, Magill was superintendent of a Pennsylvania school district. He holds an Ed.D from Temple University.

To read the full text of Magill’s letter, please visit this link. To read the full text of the Rogers and Greene letter, please click this link.