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We probably tend to go overboard a wee bit when it comes to covering the creation of the public school budget each year, and Dr. Jonathan Lewis often reminded us that the budget was actually a very small part of what he did -- important, to be sure, but small.

When it comes to the outstanding cadre of educators in Fauquier County, and the more than 11,000 students they teach in 20 schools, it is even smaller, the departing superintendent sometimes chided us.

Still, the new superintendent, which the school board was scheduled to announce after press time last night (see fauquier.com for more), is taking up his or her post at a difficult time.

Budget calculations begin to take their turn in the spotlight right after the last half-glass of New Year's champagne goes flat.

Barring a crash over the fiscal cliff, and barring such a crash being even worse than many anticipate, the new superintendent is, thankfully, coming into office in a somewhat more hopeful economy than faced Dr. Lewis when he took office in 2008, and this initial task may not be quite so challenging.

But any way you look at it, it's a tough way to step into a new job, and we wish the newcomer well.

On the brighter side, the new superintendent will step into a school system that, we believe, is running on all cylinders, and for that we thank, on behalf of the community, Dr. Lewis for an outstanding job.

There are those in the county who will disagree with that assessment. There is no one who would argue that Dr. Lewis never wavered in his belief that Fauquier students deserve the best, nor in his dedication to providing it.

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