Magill retires

Staff Writer

University of Chicago Laboratory School Director David Magill announced that he plans to retire in June 2014. The university has appointed a task force to find his replacement.

Magill, who has been the director of the schools for about 11 years, said he is announcing his retirement early so the Lab Schools will have time to conduct a thorough, national search for a successor, and to provide for smooth leadership transition.

Magill did not comment on his reason for retiring or future plans but did say that he is confident about the future of the Lab Schools.

“If all goes as hoped, much will happen between now and [June],” Magill states in a letter to the schools. “Earl Shapiro Hall will be opened, Blaine Hall will be renovated, the new arts building will be rising from the ground, and we will have surpassed the $55 million Lab+ Campaign goal.”

In the letter, he also mentioned his faith in the strong in leadership at Lab.

“I will be leaving behind the strongest and most talented team of leaders with whom I have ever worked,” Magill said. “Our Board of Directors, chaired so ably by John W. Rogers, Jr. ’76, has consistently and constructively guided our schools’ improvement. The university’s commitment to the schools remains a fundamental source of strength.” He ended the letter by stating that he will miss the students and how grateful he was for the families for their dedication and sacrifice.

“Under Dave’s leadership, the schools have grown, thrived and extended the distinguished tradition of excellence,” said John Rogers, chairman of the Lab Schools Board of Directors and Lab alum, and David Green, executive director of the University of Chicago in a written statement. “Over the next 18 months, we will have many opportunities to celebrate his leadership and the ongoing, exciting changes taking place at Lab.” In their letter, Rogers and Green state that under Magill’s leadership:

  • The Lab high school level academic curriculum has broadened and deepened, instructional time has increased and co-curricular opportunities have grown.
  • 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 cohort.
  • 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.
  • Magill has been instrumental in the current expansion of the schools and the Lab+ campaign that has made it possible to create new and improve existing facilities to support the remarkable work of our faculty and students.

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