Superintendent of Perry Township Schools
I am an extremely fortunate person. The Lord has blessed me with a loving wife, three successful children and friends who are loyal. He has also extended me the privilege for the past nine years to serve Perry Township and the nearly 16,000 children who walk through the school doors every day as their superintendent.
Life has been good to me, but sometimes there are curves thrown along the way that quickly remind you that you should be thankful for every day you are vertical and taking nourishment.
Two weeks before the start of school I was experiencing weakness in my legs. After spending eight days in the hospital the doctors concluded that I was in the beginning stages of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is a rare illness that attacks the nerve endings that connect muscles to your limbs.
If an illness can have a positive outlook, there are many positive things about this ailment. The prognosis for full recovery is extremely optimistic. I am making good progress by exercising three times a day to build my strength. The physical therapist has tracked some impressive gains in strength returning to my legs.
I am recovering at home but am placed on limited walking and use of stairs. This year was the first time in 40 years that I missed the opening day of school. There is something about the excitement of the first day that just sets the tone for the rest of the school year.
I have not been able to attend evening events and functions during the school day. I really miss walking down the halls of our schools and having the kids say hello. I believe it is so important that the individuals who are responsible for the operation of the school to have a direct connection to the children who are placed under our care by this community.
I will be on medical leave until the doctors tell me I am strong enough to return to the rigors of the position. I am fortunate to have seven board of education members who truly care about the welfare of their staff, including me.
The board has advised me to focus on rest and recuperation, and I am following that advice. We have employed Associate Superintendent Patrick Mapes to serve as superintendent until I return. He understands the commitment that this community expects from its school officers.
Mr. Mapes and I are philosophically, closely aligned. I am impressed because he has already purchased a home in Perry Township and attends events in my absence.
Enrollment is at a record high again this year as we have grown by almost 600 students. Achievement levels continue to rise and your children are behaving themselves. Life is good in Perry Township; I cannot wait to return.