Talawanda superintendent to resign July 31: ‘It’s someone else’s turn’

On a night when the Talawanda Board of Education said goodbye to a member leaving the board, they also approved the resignation request of the district’s superintendent.

The board held its final meeting of 2017 on Dec. 18. It marked the end of 10 years’ service on the board by Lois Vollmer, who failed to win re-election last month. She was thanked for her time on the board and praised by the other members for her contributions.

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On the night’s agenda was an item accepting the resignation of Superintendent Kelly Spivey, effective next July 31.

Board members thanked her for her contributions to the district and several said they voted to approve the resignation with reluctance.

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Spivey said she was reluctant to take that step, but asked the board to approve the resignation because the time is right.

“As I reflect on the people I have worked with, anyone would want to be part of this district,” she said, praising the staff and board and saying she feels confident she leaves the district in a good position. “We are at the end of a strategic plan, which goes for five years. I do not want to start another five years.”

Board president Mark Butterfield said he remembers the guidance and advice he received from Spivey when he first joined the board of education.

“Any resignation is hard but this is significant to lose a superintendent such as yourself,” Butterfield told her. “You surrounded yourself with good people.”

Spivey again praised the work of district staff and said they would continue the good work they do.

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“I have heard a good leader teaches others to be self-led,” she said. “They will be great.”

Board member Chris Otto also thanked her for help when he first came to the board two years ago.

“As the newest board member, I always appreciate your insights,” he said.

The motion to accept her resignation was made by board vice president Michael Crowder, who said he was doing so reluctantly.

The vote was 5-0 to approve the motion which was a block vote also including the resignation of high school guidance counselor Linda Stanger, effective at the end of the contract year.

Later, Spivey expanded on her comments from the board meeting calling a resignation as superintendent at the end of the year a “nice seam” after being in the district for 15 years of her 33 years in education.

“It just seemed like a good time. It’s someone else’s turn. I am not leaving the field. I will look at something that does not require as many hours,” she said the next day. “I am at the end of a contract and I started thinking about the start of a new five-year strategic plan and would not like to leave in the middle of the five years.”

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She said she is impressed with those who work in the district and what they accomplish and is proud of the work that has gone on while she was superintendent, including such things as working on closer relationships with staff and those outside, the community engagement initiative, student advisory and climate committee, among others.

“I’ve enjoyed it immensely,” she said. “I’m just very pleased with the accomplishments.”

During the portion of the agenda at the end of the meeting for board member comments, several members took the opportunity to thank Vollmer for her service to the district in her ten years on the board.

Mary Jane Roberts pointed out Vollmer and her husband, Bill, have combined for more than 30 years as members of the Talawanda Board of Education.

Vollmer thanked them for their comments and said she enjoyed her ten years on the board.

“When I look back about what we accomplished in the district, but biggest learning experience was this building,” she said, referring to the construction project to build the Talawanda High School building. “I have worked with board members that have been excellent to work with. We did not always agree but we learned about the fine art of compromise.”

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She gave nods of appreciation to Spivey and district Treasurer and CFO Mike Davis, saying of Spivey, “The new superintendent will have big shoes to fill,” and of Davis, “You are one of the best.”

She closed with a warning about a difficult future.

“You have huge problems. There are programs in place but you will have trouble dealing with harassing and drug problems. I’m sorry I won’t be here,” she said. “Thank you all very much.”

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