After 32 years in education, Abilene Superintendent of Schools Denise Guy is retiring effective June 30, the end of the current school year.
The board of education accepted her retirement Monday night following an executive session.
“We really hate to see her leave,” Board President Jeff Bathurst said Tuesday. “She’s really served the district well. She’s been a staple for the board and I know she’ll be greatly missed by the staff and kids in Abilene.”
Guy said it was time to make a change for personal reasons.
“Everything is good, but I just need to focus a little bit on my family,” Guy said. “I have a daughter who’s a senior and I’m looking forward to hanging out with her for a while along with my new grandbaby and other daughters.”
Guy said she felt the time is right. In 2017 the district finished a $24.2 million bond issue that involved a district-wide building and renovation project and a curriculum-wide strategic plan now is in place as are leadership teams.
“Lots of little things made sense for me to make the transition now,” Guy said. “Our board is amazing. The district is in a good place.”
Guy said her time in Abilene schools has been “fantastic”.
“I couldn’t ask for a better district to work in, to challenge me. The people are amazing. The kids are great. It’s a wonderful community,” she said. “I’ll miss everybody, but I’m not leaving the community.”
Guy said her family plans to move to a place they currently own in the country.
“I want to kick back and enjoy life awhile, maybe do some gardening, and then I’ll get back into it doing something,” she said with a smile.
Guy began her teaching career in 1986 as a math/computer science teacher in Oberlin where she taught for ten years. She spent two years working in Alma-Wabaunsee schools before coming to Abilene 22 years ago as the district’s first technology coordinator.
She later became curriculum director and served as assistant superintendent before taking the superintendent’s job in 2012.
Board member Gregg Noel said there never was any doubt that Guy would be a “great” superintendent.
“The board has hired other administrators before and I’ve had patrons who’ve said, ‘You have a new hire. Do you think they’re going to be any good?’ And I said ‘I’ll let you know in a year or two,’” Noel recalled. “In the case of Denise, I had no doubt we had hired a person who was going to be a good fit for our district.”
Bathurst and Noel both said the board and administrative staff were surprised by Guy’s decision, but are happy she’s able to retire.
“We’re sad to see her go and wish her all the luck,” Noel said. “She’s been a great advocate for the students and teachers. I guess an educator is always an educator. I know it was a hard decision for her.”
“But she still has a lot of things to work on between now and June 30,” he added.
Rather than attempt to hire a new superintendent before the next school year, which begins July 1, the board consulted with Brian Jordan from the Kansas Association of School Boards and decided to hire an interim superintendent for the 2018-19 school year.
“Because of the timing, lots of the superintendents that would be looking at our district have already signed contracts with their school district or another school district,” Bathurst said. “We decided to look for an interim superintendent for now and start our search in late November or December of this year.”
Noel agreed, “We felt the timing wasn’t right to jump into a search right now. We felt if we waited, we could make a much better decision and have a larger pool of candidates to choose from.”
Contact Kathy Hageman at email@example.com.