The man recently hired as Liberty School District's new superintendent said he is much better at being an educator than a retiree.
Stanley Watson, who retired as superintendent in Austintown in March 2005, is scheduled to assume his new post on July 1.
His hiring at Liberty was approved by unanimous vote at a special board meeting earlier this week.
"It's a challenge I've always enjoyed, working in education," Watson, 60, explained. "I've always appreciated being around kids. I still have a lot to contribute."
Liberty school board president Jeffrey Grinstein said that by hiring Watson the school district anticipates saving $40,000 a year over the course of his three-year contract. He will be making about $70,000 annually, and because he is a retire-rehire employee the district can save money on his salary and benefits, including the contributions the district would be obligated to make to his pension, Grinstein explained.
His contract begins July 1 and no pay raises have been built into the agreement, Grinstein said. Watson is replacing Mark Lucas, who is retiring June 30. Lucas' annual salary, including benefits, was about $110,000 a year.
"We were able to hire someone with a tremendous amount of experience we believe will be of great benefit to the school district," Grinstein said. "We were able to do that at a savings to the school district."
Watson, who lives in Austintown with his wife, Marilyn, said he's looking forward to going back to school after a three-year break. Four months after he retired as superintendent, Austintown schools rehired him as director of facilities, planning and development in a three-year contract that paid him $57,600 annually. He was superintendent for two years before retiring; his ending salary in that position was $98,000 a year.
Grinstein said Watson was chosen after a two-month search that drew a large number of highly qualified applicants. The school district enlisted the assistance of the Trumbull County Educational Service Center for the search and interview process that began in March. The school board interviewed four candidates for the post, Grinstein said.
"I'm very excited Mr. Watson will be joining our Liberty family," Grinstein commented. "I know he will make a great leader and that he will carry out the responsibilities placed before him effectively and efficiently."
Watson worked in Austintown from 1974 to 2005, and his experience ranges from teaching to administration. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Youngstown State University. He is a member of the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators and Buckeye Association of School Administrators.
"I've missed it," he said. "I've missed the work and the students. I'm looking forward to coming back and being at Liberty."