Collins superintendent to retire, reapply for post

Published 11:53 am Friday, January 23, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — There may or may not be a new face heading up the Collins Career Center in late summer.

On July 31, Superintendent Steve Dodgion, 60, will officially retire. However, he plans to reapply for his old job.

On Monday a newspaper classified advertisement stated that the Lawrence County Joint Vocational School District, also known as the Collins Center, was taking applications for the post of superintendent with an application deadline of Feb. 27 and interviews to begin in March.

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“If I continue to work under my present contract, I can draw the same money in retirement,” he said. “If I continue to work, it’s more or less working for nothing.”

Right now the job opening is being posted internally, Dodgion said.

Dodgion, who started his career in education at the Rock Hill School District, joined the staff at the Collins Center in the early 1990s, first as a social studies teacher, then as the adult director. In 2000 he took over as superintendent.

The center is in the middle of a number of transitional projects, Dodgion said, that includes a $20 million renovation and the transfer of the adult division to the authority of the Ohio Board of Regents from the Ohio Department of Education.

If Dodgion, who is the father of two young children, is hired again as superintendent, he will be under a new contract.

“If that is the board’s pleasure,” he said.

Currently the center has on campus and at its satellite branches almost 1,400 students enrolled with a staff of approximately 160.

It’s the initiative of his staff that Dodgion credits for the accomplishments of his almost nine-year tenure that includes receiving the Gold Improvement Award from High Schools That Work, a national program.

“It is the people I am working for,” he said. “Folks that you tell them how you like to see things done and turn them loose. I can’t take the credit.”

As far as taking over again under a new contract, Dodgion says “I want the board to do what is best for the school district.”

If it chooses another successor, the educator said “I will take off my shoes and put on my sandals.”

Phone calls made to Board President Robert Pleasant were not returned by press time.