Whitko Community School Corporation superintendent Steve Clason announced plans to retire at the school board meeting March 19.
Clason has served as Whitko superintendent for the last 10 years. During his 40-year career in education, he has served school corporations in Mishawaka and Goshen.
“I’ve enjoyed serving the students and staff in Whitko,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere. I still live in Whitko. I’ll always be a Wildcat and I will always support the Wildcats, but I have other things now that are pulling my attention away from my 40 years in education.”
“I know the future of Whitko is strong because we have a good administrative team that’s there to carry it along.”
Clason said he plans on spending more time with his family starting with taking daytrips with his wife and enjoying quality time with grandkids and his parents.
He said he’s sure he will find ways to keep himself busy, possibly doing some consulting jobs. Also, he said he has “more hobbies than he can shake a stick at.”
“I’m going to spend time in my barn. I’ve got an antique car that I’m renovating and an antique tractor,” he said.
Clason’s retirement will be effective at the end of the school year as Whitko embarks on plans to consolidate the middle school and high school into a junior-senior high campus due to declining enrollment and budgetary constraints.
Clason said retiring now makes sense. He wants someone with a fresh vision to take the reigns as the school corporation begins its next chapter.
“It’s a good transition for the board. It’s a good transition for the corporation as we grow and as we change,” he said. “It’s the most appropriate time to [retire] rather than have me set up everything and then have someone else come in in another year. It just makes sense.”
In other Whitko news:
The school board approved a bid for a one-year lease for five modular classrooms for the Whitko Junior-Senior High campus in South Whitley.
According to school board members, the modular classrooms will house seventh and eighth-grade students at the South Whitley campus while funding is secured to prepare the Larwill campus for the junior-senior high school.
The bid was approved by a 4-1 vote with dissent from Georgia Tenney, who represents Washington and Monroe townships. She said that she would like to see the centralization start as soon as possible.
“I’d like to be able to put a sign up that says [the Larwill campus] is the future home of the junior-senior high school,” she said.
The bid for the new modular classrooms from Texas-based manufacturer Aries Building Systems came in at $178,000, lower than the $225,000 that was first estimated. The bid was significantly lower than other bids, including ones for second-hand units.
The school board will meet for its next regular session 6:30 p.m. April 16 in the Whitko Middle School Lecture Room.