John Bevan, superintendent of Southeastern School Corporation, sent a letter to board members and an email to all faculty members Wednesday night to formally announce his plan to retire in June 2013.
Bevan, who has spent the last 14 years as superintendent of the corporation, said that the experience has been a tremendous ride.
“Fourteen years is a lifetime for a superintendent,” Bevan said. “I think it shows how wonderful the experience has been for me that I have been here this long.”
Bevan, a Valparaiso native, went to Northwestern University and worked in Chicago for more than 30 years. For Bevan, the experience with the faculty and staff members has been memorable. Bevan said that he wanted to tell all employees of his plans to retire before they heard it in local media.
“I’ve created personal relationships that go back 14 years,” Bevan said. “I felt I owed it to the faculty and staff to let them know what was going on and what my plans were.”
Before working within Southeastern, Bevan worked in different schools in Illinois. He was a teacher for four years, as assistant principal for five and then took a break to work in real estate and restaurant management for three years.
When he made the switch to management, Bevan said it was a great experience financially but it wasn’t what he enjoyed doing.
“My wife finally asked me when I was going to stop messing around and go back to doing what I love,” Bevan said, laughing. “Shortly after, I went back to being in administration.”
Bevan was a principal for the next 13 years before he was a superintendent in Illinois for eight years. In 1999, he retired from that position and moved to Galveston to become superintendent for Southeastern.
Fourteen years later, Bevan said he is happy that he moved into this community.
“My wife and I have lived in Galveston together longer than we’ve lived anywhere else in our married lives,” Bevan said. “We plan to stay in this area that we have made our home. It’s a great community.”
Those who have worked with Bevan said that the relationship has not only been a good one, but it’s been a learning experience.
Ian Jay, president of Southeastern’s Board of Education, said the working relationship between the board and Bevan has been a good one.
“The working relationship has always been very positive,” Jay said. “Through dialogue and discussion we have worked well to challenge each other to create a friendly, productive environment.”
Trudie Hedrick, Galveston Elementary Principal, said that working with Bevan has been tremendous.
“Bevan has always supported the administration,” Hedrick said. “I’ve appreciated his guidance over the years and it’s honestly been a learning experience to work for someone who is always willing to listen.”
Hedrick’s praise was echoed by Mark Karmel, principal of Lewis Cass Junior-Senior High School.
“Dr. Bevan has been a mentor to me,” Karmel said. “He’s always been supportive of the decisions I’ve made. Whenever you work with someone they help mold how you perceive things in the world and I’m happy to say working at Lewis Cass has been the best career move I’ve made.”
Bevan stated that he has been informally discussing his plans to retire with board members for at least three months because he wanted to make sure that there was enough time to smoothly hire a new superintendent.
The board hired a consultant to help with the screening process, Jay said. The board will now accept applications and the consultant will check references and narrow the field choices. The interview process should begin in October, Jay said.
“The board members have been wonderful and the fact that they are involving me in the process of replacing me speaks measures,” Bevan said. “I chose to announce my retirement at this time so that a new superintendent could be hired in December and if that person lives near the area, I could work closely with him or her second semester.”
After his retirement Bevan said he plans to travel with his wife Sherry, to whom he’s been married for 46 years.
“We want to travel to New England in the fall and the Canadian Rockies,” Bevan said. “The history teacher in me also would like to see Europe.”
Bevan said that he and his wife, who were high school sweethearts, also plan to visit their daughters. One daughter, Kathy Hinz, is an assistant superintendent in Chicago. Their other daughter, Kerry MacPherson, is a senior sourcing specialist for Sea World in Orlando, Fla.
Bevan said that the highlights of his career at Lewis Cass have been setting up a fair way to take care of teacher retirement in 2004 and the recent renovations in all three school buildings.
“Besides traveling and spending time with family, I’m not sure what else I’ll do,” Bevan said. “I’ve done this my whole life and now it’s time to try something new.”
• Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or email@example.com.