By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — Although he was widely expected to to serve one more year, Anderson Community Schools Superintendent Felix Chow has decided to resign effective Aug. 30.
Chow notified the school board of his decision on Monday, and later posted a farewell "Communique to the Community" on the school system's website. Classes are scheduled to begin in the district Aug. 7.
Chow notified the school board in April of his intent not to continue in the post when his current contract expires in June 2014.
Tuesday, however, Chow said he made clear that next June would be the longest he would continue as superintendent.
"As stated then, this was the time for me to plan for the next 20 years of my life and now is the time for me to move on. Hence, I will retire as superintendent of Anderson Community Schools with August 30, 2013, as my last work day."
Since announcing his intentions, Chow said he's been scouting retirement cities, which have included San Francisco, Seattle, Bloomington, Washington, D.C., and Ann Arbor, Mich.
Michigan won, with an an opportunity to move into a condominium complex in Ann Arbor, Chow said.
"We now have a chance of going into a retirement home," Chow said. "If we miss this one, I don't know when we'll get into the next one."
Chow said he will spend the next 30 days working with the board and community to ensure a smooth transition to new district leadership.
"Even though 'parting is such sweet sorrow,' " Chow said in a statement, "I am proud to point out that ACS is transforming itself to a quality educational institution by providing competitive choices in a safe environment."
When Chow began his tenure in January 2010, ACS was in financial turmoil with a deficit of more than $2 million. He is credited with restoring the school system's fiscal credibility and also improving relationships between schools and the community.
"I am one that is very thankful for the impact that Dr. Chow has had on our community these last several years," said school board member Stephanie Moran.
Chow's retirement came "a little sooner than we anticipated," she added, noting that the school board members only just began the process of searching for suitable candidates to replace him.
She estimated the process of vetting candidates would take about four months, even if Chow had stayed until next June.
Now, the district will have to hire an interim superintendent. Even that caretaker position is an important choice, Moran said, making sure the right leadership team is in place because "education is such a high stakes business anymore."
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