Lonedell R-XIV School District Superintendent Fred VanBibber is retiring at the end of the current academic year.
The Lonedell Board of Education accepted VanBibber’s letter of resignation during a special meeting on Friday. The board discussed the resignation during a closed session, and then voted to accept it afterward during open session.
The resignation is effective June 30.
“I’m going to retire and pursue other interests,” VanBibber told The Missourian. “The school district is in a good place. It’s just a good time for me to bow out.”
VanBibber, 55, has been the R-XIV superintendent for four years. Prior to Lonedell, he was a teacher for and principal in the Norwood R-I School District east of Springfield for 20 years. He also served as a member of the Mountain Grove school board from 2000-2004.
In his resignation letter sent to the local board, VanBibber said, “The opportunity to serve at the Lonedell R-XIV School District as superintendent of schools continues to be an honor. The certified staff, noncertified staff and front office work very hard every day to make Lonedell R-XIV a better place for students. The ladies in the central office are an excellent team. You, the members of the board of education, reach out and do the extra things that make the district successful.
“It is time for me to start the administrative transition process by resigning my position as superintendent at the end of the current 2012-2013 school year.”
“I’m proud of what we have accomplished here,” VanBibber told The Missourian on Monday. “Everyone here does a great job. We have a good board, good teachers and a good administration. There are still some things I would have liked to accomplish, but I think the district is set pretty well.
“I’m confident we’re in good shape in all aspects of the district. It’s just a good time for me to retire.”
Lonedell R-XIV Board of Education President Kathy Reed told The Missourian on Monday that when VanBibber first mentioned his retirement, it was a surprise.
“I didn’t anticipate it or expect it,” she said. “I didn’t even know he was considering it.”
Reed said VanBibber first brought his resignation up during the board’s executive session in January. She said board members told him to think about his decision to make sure he was comfortable with it.
The official letter of resignation then was received on Feb. 4, Reed said, so the board decided to conduct an extra meeting last Friday night to discuss and then accept it.
“We thought it was best to meet before our regular February meeting so we could get the actual acceptance of the resignation out of the way,” Reed said. “That way, when we do have our regular meeting, we will be able to focus on how to proceed. Obviously, we will fill the position, but we’ll talk about how we want to proceed.”
That school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
VanBibber had one year remaining on his current contract.
Reed had nothing but praise for her superintendent.
“I appreciate his efforts to get our district where it is,” she said. “He is a good administrator and part of a good administrative team. We wish him well.
“If you’re going to voluntarily resign, I think it’s good that he did it while he was on top of his game,” she said.
Lonedell Principal Jen Ulrich, who came on board in her position at the same time as VanBibber started, also had nothing but positive comments for the superintendent.
“It has been my pleasure to work with Mr. VanBibber the last four years,” Ulrich said. “We came to Lonedell R-XIV at the same time in 2009. The district was undergoing a big transition. It was difficult at first, as we were both new to the district, but in no time, we hit the ground running and the work began.
“He took on quite a few big projects right away, such as building a new gymnasium, new lighting throughout the building and other improvements to existing facilities. But he has also strongly supported curriculum development and teacher growth. He committed district funds where it mattered most, and through professional development opportunities our district has grown in the area of curriculum design and professional learning community work. His commitment and investment to our students’ education has and will continue to pay dividends in the future.
“We will miss Mr. VanBibber at Lonedell R-XIV. We would like to thank him for his contributions to our school and community and wish him the best of luck for a peaceful and relaxing retirement.”
VanBibber is earning $97,850 as superintendent this year. When he started during the 2009-2010 academic year, his salary was $92,500.
At the end of his resignation letter, VanBibber offered more praise for the school district.
“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the great successes achieved over the past four years here at Lonedell,” he said. “Lonedell R-XIV continues to make huge accomplishments in the areas of academics, finance and facilities. Lonedell was awarded for being one of only 10 schools in the state to achieve 100 percent on the (state’s) MSIP 5 (accreditation summary report). We currently have a positive fund balance, completed facility improvements, including a new gym approved by the Lonedell community by a 72 percent voter approval, and numerous other upgrades and improvements to the campus for safety and security.”