Fred Susor, 62, will be honored at a staff reception on May 26.
Jetta Fraser Enlarge
Fred Susor was eligible for retirement seven years ago, but the longtime Penta Career Center superintendent didn't give it a second thought once Penta began building the $90.6 million campus that opened last fall.
"Everyday was a new challenge, a new decision to be made," said Mr. Susor, who worked in construction to put himself through college and became a carpentry teacher. He taught six years at Northwood High School before joining Penta in 1978.
He said the multiyear construction project was "like one big Erector Set. I'd come over here every night. I'd marvel at some of the things. I'd question some of the things."
It was a crowning moment, he said, to welcome Penta's 1,500 students to school on the first day of classes this year, look around, and tell them: "This is what people in your communities think of you."
The sprawling new school, after all, was built with the support of voters in the 16 school districts in the five counties Penta serves.
Although he's finally - literally - made it to the corner office, Mr. Susor, 62, plans to retire effective July 31. Current and retired staff are invited to a reception in his honor May 26 in the Commons area at the new school on Buck Road just off I-75 in Perrysburg Township.
Mr. Susor insists he's healthy and still enjoying his job, but said he's ready to say good-bye to the school where he's worked for 31 years.
"It hit me that maybe it's time for someone else to come in and take a different look at things," he said. "I have no complaints. I've had a great career."
Jan Bain, a cosmetology instructor at Penta for 18 years, said Mr. Susor will be remembered for "his leadership, his fairness, his connection to the community, and for connecting us to the community."
She said she thinks of Mr. Susor and thanks him everyday when she walks into the shiny, new school.
"We're going to miss him," she said. "He'll be hard to top."
The school board is in the process of searching for Mr. Susor's successor.
Board Vice President Kathy Limes said Mr. Susor has "brought Penta up to great standards." The board hates to see him go.
"He's so dedicated to Penta. His whole heart and soul is in Penta and in this new building," Ms. Limes said. "He just beams when he talks about Penta."
While many school administrators retire and soon take new jobs with other districts, Mr. Susor says he hopes he doesn't do that.
"I'm not discounting the fact that I could help somebody out for a while, but not full-time," he said. "Maybe full-time in some other kind of work."
Mr. Susor said he still has his carpentry tools and enjoys using them.
"I'll probably end up remodeling our kitchen," he said with a laugh. "I'm one of those guys who refuses to pay for something I can do myself."
He said he'd like to think he's leaving Penta in good shape.
"I've treated it like it was my own - my own money, my own kids. ," he said. "I guess I've done that for 31 years whether I was a teacher or supervisor, adult education director, assistant superintendent or superintendent. I've always felt this ownership. I've always tried to make decisions that put students first."