NEWARK, Md. (AP) — The longest-serving county schools superintendent in Maryland has announced he will retire at the end of the academic year.

Jon Andes, who has served as superintendent of the high-performing Worcester County Public Schools for 16 years, says he is stepping down on June 30. The school board expects to begin searching for a replacement as early as next month.

READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Severe Thunderstorm Watch In Effect

Since Andes took over, eight of the county’s schools have been named Maryland Blue Ribbon schools. The district is also frequently praised for its high standardized test results and graduation rate, which is 95 percent.

READ MORE: More Than Two Dozen Injured After A Bus Flips Onto Its Side Along I-95 In Kingsville

In a 2010 speech, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan cited Andes and the Worcester school system as a model for building a “college-going culture.”

MORE NEWS: 10-Year-Old Injured In A Double Shooting In Southeast Baltimore

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)