Symmes leader can help change

Published 10:14 am Friday, October 23, 2009

Tom Ben has served the children of the Symmes Valley School District well as superintendent for the past 16 years, but you could argue that he should continue to do that for about five months longer than he currently intends.

Ben officially tendered his retirement papers to the school board Monday. The notification, which didn’t elaborate on the reasoning for retirement or the timing, is effective Dec. 31.

When reached by phone Thursday, Ben said the timing is best for his family and allows the new board to work with a new superintendent.

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But the problem with that is that it leaves the board with a little more than two months to find his replacement, a task made even more difficult by the fact that many candidates may be employed elsewhere and couldn’t step in immediately.

We applaud Ben for his efforts to lead the district and make it the best school he can. By most accounts, he has done a great job of this and had an excellent 39-year career in education.

But we urge Ben to reconsider the date of his retirement in order to allow the board ample time to find the best possible replacement and to ensure a smooth transition to the new leadership.

This would allow the board the necessary time to advertise widely and interview candidates and avoid the need for an interim superintendent.

A temporary replacement could likely get the job done but it would be much smoother if Ben were there to close the year and lay more groundwork for the 2010-11 school year.

Tom Ben has likely made a number of sacrifices for the students in the Symmes Valley district in his many years as an educator.

Hopefully, he can find a way to make one more.