VIENNA - Having announced his plan to retire as superintendent of Mathews Local Schools, Lee Seiple remains content to end his four-decade career.
''I'm presently in my 44th year and that's enough,'' Seiple said. ''When you get up to 44 years and 67 years of age, it's time to enjoy the rest of your life.''
Seiple became superintendent of Mathews in February 1999. Previously, he held a number of roles with Champion schools, including principal, and as a principal and superintendent in the Bloomfield-Mespo school district.
Seiple said he is certain that his time as a superintendent is over, but he is looking at other options.
''I probably won't retire to nothing,'' he said. ''When I retired from Champion, my plan was to build homes. My second ambition in life was to do construction. I have a couple opportunities in that direction on a part-time basis.''
Seiple announced his decision to retire during a Board of Education executive session Tuesday, just before it was announced during the public portion of the board meeting. It was a decision that was a surprise to the entire school board.
Seiple is the sixth local superintendent who will not return for the 2011-12 school year.
Other districts that will be looking to fill their superintendent positions will be Warren City Schools, which accepted the retirement of Dr. Kathryn Hellweg; Niles City Schools, which accepted the resignation of Rocco Adduci; Girard City Schools, which accepted the resignation of Joseph Jeswald; and Newton Falls and LaBrae, which chose to not renew the contracts of David Wilson and Patrick Guliano, respectively.
''At the end of the executive session, I said that I was going to resign as of July 31,'' Seiple said. ''Nobody knew that but me.''
''We were not (ready),'' board member Brian Stidham said on Wednesday.
Seiple's contract runs through July 31, 2014. He earns $91,088 per year.
The contract states that ''upon retirement, resignation or nonrenewal, the superintendent shall be entitled to payment of all accrued unused sick leave and personal leave accrued while at Mathews School District at a per diem rate.''
The superintendent said that he made the announcement in March in order to give the board enough time to properly search for a replacement.
''I retired from Champion in 1995, so I've been a rehire since then,'' he said. ''I've thought about it (retirement) every year of those 16 years.''
Recent financial difficulties that the school system has had to face, which include closing Neal Middle School, did not factor into the decision, he said.
''It was simply years of service,'' he said. ''To spend 60 hours a week in superintendency and run a district, after 44 years it is enough.''
Now that he is preparing to end his long career in education, Seiple feels confident that he can look back and be proud of the work that he has done.
''When I think of my 44 years either as a high school principal at Champion or a superintendent, a lot of kids have walked across the stage and a lot have returned and said thank you. It's very gratifying,'' he said.