January 16, 2014 | Vol. 40, No. 3

School superintendent to retire in June

Petersburg School District Superintendent Dr. Rob Thomason announced his retirement last week.

Superintendent Dr. Rob Thomason

Thomason began working for the PSD in 2009. Jean Ellis, school board president, said he was instrumental in changing the district for the better.

"I've been trying to talk him out of leaving," Ellis joked."When he became the superintendent he was the sixth one in eight years. People were becoming dispirited with superintendent turnover."

Ellis credited his people skills and positive attitude as main factors for the district wide morale boost that's occurred over the past five years.

For Thomason, it's the community as a whole who were instrumental in making Petersburg the best place he said he's ever worked.

"The people," Thomason said. "Totally, hands down the people. That's just a singular highlight. No better job have I had in a 43-year career."

Thomason said updates to technology in the classroom, the food service program and the athletics and activity programs are just several of the many he's been proud to support.

Thomason will also assist with the search for a new superintendent. He said new school evaluation standards and funding shortages are challenges the district will continue to face.

"It has to make sure we keep our level of staffing aligned with our level of income," Thomason said. "We have always made a very strong effort to leverage vacant positions. We analyze every opportunity to allocate or save funds."

He said finding someone with a can-do attitude who is willing to work with the staff will be essential for the district's success.

"The staff, that's what makes it," Thomason said. "It's letting the staff be the staff. That's what we did together. They're the ones doing all the heavy lifting. My job was to support."

Thomason and his wife Susan will move to Bend, Ore. to live near one of their daughters and three grandchildren.

"It's time to be a grandpa," Thomason said.

Ellis said the district is taking applications from within and outside the state. Surveys are going out to staff to help determine what professional and personal qualities it wants in its new superintendent. Ellis said the district will hold a community meeting-date to be determined-to gain more widespread input.

Thomason's contract expires June 30.

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