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Retired Kent School District superintendent dies
For the Reporter
Former Kent School District Superintendent Dr. George T. Daniel passed away Jan. 30 of lung cancer. He was 83.
"This district will continue to serve generations of students, as Dr. Daniel did," said current Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas. "His foresight was instrumental to our success at serving students today, and his impact on our organization is lasting."
Daniel was the district's superintendent for 21 years and retired in 1992. He oversaw the district during a time of rapid growth in employment, housing and student enrollment.
Under his leadership, the district purchased land in areas where growth was predicted while land was yet undervalued. With sound financial management and Daniel's leadership, the district increased the number of new schools by 20 to accommodate growth in the student population during that time.
Daniel valued leadership training of his administrators, 14 of whom went on to be superintendents themselves. In 1990, he received an Excellence in Education Award, the only superintendent among 51 school administrators and teachers selected. During Daniel's tenure, he saw the value in diversity and launched an aggressive effort to recruit minority employees and to train non-minority employees to work with the increasingly diverse student body. Today, the district is the most ethnically diverse district in the state.
Former colleagues remember that, while the size of the district was increasing rapidly, Daniel maintained the feeling of a small district with retiree barbecues, school visits, leadership retreats and a warm personality.
George T. Daniel Elementary School was named in Daniel's honor the year of his retirement. The name was suggested by students, a choice competing in popularity with suggestions of naming the new school after former Seattle Seahawks receiver Steve Largent, an NFL Hall of Famer.
Daniel expressly wished for no memorial service, but condolences may be directed to his granddaughter, Joanna Daniel, at Joanna.Daniel2 (at) gmail.com, from whom you may also request a physical address.