Superintendent Discusses Retirement

Retirement plans "in the works" prior to recent board conflict

Zeke Whetstone

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Atlantic School District superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein announced Wednesday that he will not be returning after the 2016-2017 school year.

Although there has been recent conflict with school board members, Amstein said that it has nothing to do with his retirement. Amstein has had a “rolling three year contract” and had no intentions of renewing it, he said. Amstein said his retirement plan has been “in the works” for the past two years, even with the previous board.

Amstein has been at the helm of the Atlantic Schools since April of 2010, after previously working in six other school districts.

Looking back on his time in Atlantic, he mentioned how far the technology has come at AHS, saying that the internet bandwidth has improved by 165MB, and this summer an additional 250MB will be added to the system.

Amstein said he doesn’t think there is “anything we couldn’t do” with that much bandwidth.

He also mentioned how renovations to the numerous facilities have improved the schools during his time in Atlantic. Amstein is proud of the increasing academic scores, giving credit to the students.

“We don’t rebuild, we reload,” Amstein said, talking about the reputation of the school district and its possible weaknesses. But he doesn’t see this as an issue as much as the ability to carry an on-going tradition.

Board member Jenny Williams is excited for the “new era” and is “excited to move forward and make positive changes.” She believes that the next superintendent should be “from Iowa, that is knowledgeable with Iowa finance, and also has very good communication and people skills.”

Williams believes it is important that the next leader really listens to the staff and what they say. “A good leader (needs) to work alongside your staff and take what they say to heart. I also want the new superintendent to be a strong face in the community,” said Williams.

Amstein said that the whole district needs to have a mentality that wants students to come to Atlantic schools and know that they are going to “get a great education and be involved in a lot of very good activities.”

After he retires, Amstein will have been on “one side of the desk or the other side of the desk” for 53 years. He plans to travel with his wife, and he has aspirations to “do something normal people can do.” Amstein wants to continue to help people. He has plans to do volunteer work with his wife wherever they end up.

 

 

Reporters Chloe Newbury and Dillon Sonntag contributed to this story.

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