The Whitley County school district is looking for a new superintendent.
At the close of a special called Whitley County Board of Education meeting late Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Scott Paul announced plans to retire effective July 1 at the end of his current contract.
“The time is right for me. The time is right for the district. It is time move on,” Paul said.
“We sure hate to see you go,” replied Board Chairman Larry Lambdin.
Paul said he choose this time to retire because he wanted to give the board time to find a replacement and ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
“I want to help that person as much as I can,” Paul noted. “The district is in great shape. There are a lot of great people here. I think the best days of this district are ahead of us.”
Paul added that his family is as excited about the decision as he is.
He is currently in the process of completing his eighth year as superintendent, and his 29th year working in the school district.
“I never really intended to stay longer than eight years as superintendent. I am at a point where I can go home. I want to go and enjoy retirement,” Paul said.
He said the thing he will miss most is working with his colleagues on a daily basis, many of whom he has developed friendships with over the last several years.
“While I look forward to my retirement, I will miss being a part of such a wonderful school system. I have been fortunate to work closely with some of the most talented educators our state has to offer, many of whom I have developed close friendships with throughout the years,” Paul wrote in his retirement letter to the board.
Paul said that he doesn’t plan to do anything workwise for the first year of his retirement except take care of some things around the house, and travel with his wife, Karen.
Paul began teaching social studies at Whitley County High School in 1989. He served as athletic director for seven years, assistance principal for 12 years, and head principal for three years.
Paul was named deputy superintendent in 2009, and was named superintendent in 2010 replacing long-time superintendent Lonnie Anderson, who retired after about 20 years on the job.
Board members said that they knew Paul had been thinking about retirement, but weren’t expecting the announcement Tuesday.
Lambdin said that the board wishes Paul the best.
“The years that he has been here, the finances have been tight. The money has been tight, but we have always done well,” Lambdin said. “He has always put good people in charge. He has done a great job. He is surely going to be missed and will be hard to replace.”
Lambdin said that Paul definitely would be missed.
“He keeps everybody updated on everything that is going on in our school system. He does a great job. The community loves him. We are just proud of him as our superintendent,” Lambdin said.
Board members said their next step would be selecting a superintendent search committee as they scramble the next couple of months to find a replacement.
As for whether they are looking for a replacement from inside or outside the district, board members said that might very well depend on who applies for the job.
“Talk to us next month on that,” Lambdin said laughingly.
The board is going to have a leadership vacuum to fill with Paul’s retirement.
Deputy Superintendent Paula Trickett announced plans last year to also retire effective July 1, 2018.
At the time Trickett announced her pending retirement last year, the board appointed John Siler and Paula Rickett as assistant superintendents.
Also during Tuesday’s board meeting, the board discussed the 2018-2019 school calendar.
Trickett said that the state legislature amended the law last year to give school districts some flexibility in regards to the school calendar if they start their school year on the Monday closest to Aug. 26.
The new school calendar would make the starting day Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, and have the closing day tentatively set for May 17.
As a compromise for the later start day, Trickett said principals asked that fall break be eliminated, which is something the proposed new school calendar calls for.
The board is expected to vote on the 2018-2019 school calendar at its regular April meeting.