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Robert R. "Bud" Spillane, a former superintendent of the Fairfax County, Va., and Boston school districts, has died.

Mr. Spillane, who had a reputation as a tough yet fair leader, died July 18. He was 80.

During his tenure in Boston, from 1981-1985, he was credited with resuscitating a troubled school system beset by racial tension and declining enrollment during a time of court-ordered desegregation.

Leaving Boston for Fairfax County, then the nation's 10th-largest district, he led that suburban system until 1997, "boosting student performance, expanding academic offerings, and improving management," The Washington Post reported.

He had been a teacher, an elementary principal, and then a superintendent in New York and New Jersey. He also served as deputy state commissioner of education in New York.

In the last decade of his career, Mr. Spillane worked as a regional education officer in the U.S. State Department's office of overseas schools and as director of the education center for Naval Analyses Corp., a nonprofit military-research firm in Alexandria, Va.

Vol. 34, Issue 37, Page 5

Published in Print: August 5, 2015, as Obituary
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