By: Matthew Arvin, staff reporter
The superintendent of the St. Johns Public School District, Ken Ladouceur is retiring at the end of the 2013 school year.
His Retirement was announced at the St. Johns public school board meeting on February 4. Ladouceur has been the superintendent since 2009. He came to St. Johns from Colorado where he was also a superintendent.
“It’s really hard to maintain that relationship and support for the family out in the west, while at the same time being able to give myself fully to this job,” Ladouceur said.
Dr. Nicholas Koenigsknecht, school board secretary, said Ladouceur’s retirement came as a surprise.
“It came as a little bit of a surprise,” Koenigsknecht said. “But he’s done a great job for us the past four years and we wish him the best.”
Mark Palmer, St. Johns High School principal, said how bringing Ladouceur in from outside the state of Michigan was a good decision and beneficial.
“Sometimes it’s good to bring someone in from the outside, its nice to get another person’s perspective,” Palmer Said. “When you stay within your own district or own state, you tend to put the blinders on and don’t see all of the possibilities.”
William Tennant, school board president, said how Ladouceur has done a lot financially for the school as well as well hired new administrators into the school district.
“He especially has brought on a phenomenal administrative team,” Tennant said. “Since he has been here, we have had to replace several administrators and he has brought in some key people that provide great leadership.”
Ladouceur’s biggest project during his tenure as the superintendent was a bond and building project. In May 2010, voters allowed the sale of bonds worth a total of $64 million. The money has been used for renovations to the high school, middle schools and elementary schools. The money was also used to incorporate more technology into the classrooms.
“We are incorporating things like new computers, whether they are desktops or laptops, tablets, projectors and overhead speaker systems,” Koenigsknecht said.
The school district is now looking to hire a new superintendent that will continue to move the school district forward in a positive direction.
“We’re just looking for the best person, wherever that person comes from. We have hired
a highly respected firm that is helping us with our search,” Tennant said.
Dr. Ladouceur said that he hopes whoever his replacement is, continues to improve the school district and looks in the best interest of its students.
“I hope to see high performing students and a situation where students graduating from St. Johns schools have as many options as possible open to them when they leave here,” Ladouceur said.
“I’m happy for him, but not happy for the school system,” Tennant said. “He is a phenomenal superintendent and I would put him up against any superintendent in the state of Michigan.“