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Published: Sunday, 2/22/2009

Teacher, superintendent cherished role as mentor

Michael Carmean, 59, an educator for 36 years who retired in 2007 after 13 years as superintendent of the Washington Local Schools, died Friday in his West Toledo home from complications of scleroderma, a connective tissue disease.

"He worked up until he couldn't any more," his daughter, Megan, said. "He loved what he did. He loved the kids and the people he worked with. He never complained about being in pain or suffering. He loved making a difference in the schools."

He returned to Washington Local as superintendent in 1994 - he'd taught math at Whitmer High School from 1972-84 - after eight years in the Northwood Local Schools, where he was high school principal, 1986-91, and superintendent, 1991-94.

In his first meeting with the district's administrators, he said, "It's gonna be fun, kids," recalled Karen Tscherne, who has been executive secretary to Washington Local superintendents since 1978. "Overall, he was the most genuine person I've ever known," Mrs. Tscherne said. "He was just a champ. You always knew where you stood, and you always knew where he stood. He was authentic with everybody, and he had a good time.

"The kids made it worth every headache and heartache," she said. "If something good for kids happened as a result, he was willing to do whatever it took."

"He had a unique ability, with all the distractions of the superintendency, to remain really focused on students and what they needed and what they wanted," said Casey Reason, Whitmer principal from 1995 to 2001 who is now chairman of leadership studies at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

In January, 2008, the Whitmer fitness center was named for Mr. Carmean. In October, 2008, he was inducted into the Whitmer Athletic Hall of Fame. While teaching at Whitmer, he was head baseball coach; a varsity football assistant; a junior high and freshman football coordinator, and a junior varsity wrestling coach.

Mr. Carmean was a 1967 graduate of Memorial High School in his native St. Marys, Ohio. He received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Bowling Green State University in 1971. He received a master of education degree in administration and supervision in 1981 from the University of Toledo.

He taught math for a year at Fairmont East High School in Kettering, Ohio. After his 12-year stint at Whitmer, he was assistant principal, later principal, and athletic director at Lakota High School in Kansas, Ohio.

He liked to spend summers and weekends at the family cottage on Lake Erie at Marblehead in Ottawa County. And he knew the words to every song by the Beach Boys and every song in the Clint Eastwood/Lee Marvin movie musical, Paint Your Wagon, his daughter said.

"He was a fun person to be around," she said.

He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, a professional association for educators.

Surviving are his wife, Patricia, whom he married July 6, 1974; daughter, Megan Boothroyd; son, Patrick Carmean; father, L.G. Carmean; sister, Diane Blackburn, and brother, Terry Carmean.

Arrangements are pending.

The family suggests tributes to the Scleroderma Foundation, Danvers, Mass.

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