Fairbanks school superintendent to retire

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- School superintendent Jim Holt is retiring after 31 years with the district.

Holt told the school board Tuesday night that he would retire at the end of June after three years as superintendent.

''It's huge when you consider the fact that when you combine 31 years as an employee of this district along with 11 years as a student in this district, 42 of my 53 years have been in some way tied to this school district,'' Holt said. ''It is a huge change for me.''

Hold said he has no immediate plans to leave Fairbanks. Holt said he is not retiring for any particular reason and says he will be busy after leaving the district.

''I definitely want to work. I am ready for a change and I am going to take the most interesting job that comes along,'' he said. ''I won't be applying for superintendent positions, I can tell you that.''

Not that the job doesn't have its advantages.

''What is good about it is being able to identify things that need to be changed and change them,'' Holt said. ''When you are not superintendent and you see things that are wrong, you are kind of out of luck.''

He said he has been proud of giving the district some stability during his tenure. Before Holt took over, the district had lost two superintendents in as many years.

But Holt, who has held more positions in the district than he can readily name, misses the one thing the superintendent doesn't get to do very often.

''The worst thing about it is you don't get to work with kids,'' he said. ''If I stay in education it is going to be as a high school principal. If I stay in education I want to work with kids.''

School board president Bart LeBon at Tuesday's meeting called Holt a ''homegrown success story.''

Holt moved to Fairbanks with his parents in 1956. He graduated from Ben Eielson High School and, after attending college, returned to the district to teach. He's been here ever since.

''Jim had clearly earned the full confidence and respect of the board of education,'' he said. ''Jim will be sorely missed.''

The board is beginning meetings with department directors and other members of the management team this week to map out the search for a new superintendent. Within a month the board hopes to decide whether to promote someone or to launch a search, he said.

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