Schools Superintendent Bill Gretzula on Wednesday night announced his resignation after only two years on the job, and a visibly upset Board of Education immediately agreed to hire him as a teacher.
In a surprise statement at the board meeting, Dr. Gretzula, the father of a young son and daughter, said he wants to spend more time with his family.
“My reasons for (resigning) are personal and they are in no way to be interpreted as occurring for professional or political reasons,” he said. “My family has come to the mutual decision that it is in our best interests for me to resign.”
“I have preached for years that family comes first and I haven't quite practiced that,” he continued while choking back tears. “In the role of superintendent it is difficult to strike that delicate balance of time between professional and personal responsibilities. Now that I'm stepping down you can rest assured and I can rest assured that I can better attend to my responsibilities as a husband, father, son and brother.”
Gretzula praised the school board and administrative staff for their support. He said he is proud of improved student achievement and that the BSD is “one of the most stable financial public school districts in the area.”
He said he wants to stay with the district as a teacher in one of his two certifications – special education (K-12), in which he spent six years before becoming an administrator, and elementary education (K-6).
“I seek no favors,” he said. “I just seek an opportunity to spend more time with family and continue to serve this great community and the great children and families who live here.”
After the meeting, he told Patch he has thought about the decision “longer than I can remember,” and added “Every good administrator is an educator first.” He also expressed his excitement to a student board representative about returning to the classroom.
In approving a teaching position for Gretzula, board member Chester Marshall said, “I wish I had a kid in that class.”
Gretzula joined the district in Feb. 2007 as an assistant superintendent and moved up in 2009. He leaves – his last day tentatively set at Aug. 30 – with two years left on his contract.
Board attorney Tom Profy III said Gretzula will keep his accumulated sick leave as he moves to the classroom. His exact position is apparently yet to be determined.
“I asked Dr. Gretzula what size his shoes were. He said 11, and I said more like 16,” said board member Ralph Douglass. “We're going to have a job to fill those shoes.”
Board President Heather Nicholas, who cried as Gretzula read his statement, soon after said, “We all, I think, understand and appreciate what you're doing. … You're not in it for the money. You're not in it for the recognition. You're in it for the kids and we realize you need to spend some time with your own. But I still don't like it.”
After the meeting, Nicholas said the board hasn't had the time to determine exactly how they will pursue a successor to Gretzula.
“We're still trying to wrap our heads around this,” she said. “None of us wanted this but we understand it's what is best for him. It will be very hard to find someone to fill his shoes.”