The Herald Bulletin

January 8, 2013

Nelson says goodbye

Tuesday was Elwood Superintendent Glen Nelson’s last before retirement

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

ELWOOD, Ind. — An early wake-up call, the typical morning routine with breakfast, the weather and news. Then an early arrival at the office with the typical paperwork routine and preparation for a school board meeting.

Tuesday seemed like a typical day for Elwood Community Schools Superintendent Glen Nelson. It was anything but — and being hit with Silly String by some of his staff served as a reminder of that.

Retiring after 36 years in education spent at various locations including Yorktown, Pendleton and Anderson, it was Nelson’s last day as superintendent. He’d been in the role since 2010.

“It’s a very strange feeling,” he said. “It’s mixed, with happiness but you’re going to miss people, the routine of working with kids. That’s the hard part.”

Elwood Middle School Principal Teresa Boucher said it was a “mixture of a day emotionally.”

It was the students’ first day of class after winter break, and while she said educators were excited to welcome them back, it was hard knowing it was Nelson’s last.

“He’s been a great mentor for me in making adjustments I’ve had to make in my administrative role,” Boucher said. She went from being assistant principal to principal just this year.

She said he’s shown great leadership during changes, such as the middle school moving from grades six through eight to four through eight, and been instrumental in bringing new initiatives such as the eight-step process.

“His leadership style allowed administrators to truly be administrators of their buildings with no hovering,” she said, adding that he would always offer an ear or give assistance if help was needed, though.

Nelson said he stuck around after winter break to help the interim superintendent transition. When he announced his resignation, he didn’t think that interim would be his predecessor, Tom Austin.

Austin had helped him transition into the role just three years ago and said Nelson was always “eager to understand how this works” and that he was good with the people he worked with.

Nelson said he doesn’t yet know what his next step will be.

When he took over as principal of Anderson High School for Horace Chadbourne, he said, Chadbourne gave him this advice for retirement: learn how to say no and travel when school time starts back up.

Nelson said he’s done some traveling to places like Europe and might again with his wife, Deborah, and that he’ll likely play a little more golf. Plus, he has six grandkids to spend more time with.

He also knows he’d like to stay involved with education somehow because “retirement is kind of in your head.”

“The experience I had with students, whether I was a teacher, disciplinarian ....” Nelson played many different roles. “I really, truly enjoy the relationships built.”

As for Elwood’s future, Nelson said education is continually facing changes, but with initiatives like the eight-step process and Aleks algebra program, the outlook seems positive.

He said he wants to see a superintendent who will help Elwood Community Schools be a vibrant place that is sound financially and accountable for students.

“People who do this and have done this a long time I have great admiration for,” he said. “I hope the next person can push it over the top and keep going.”

Find Dani Palmer on Facebook and @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.