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Symmes Valley chief heads into retirement

While the Symmes Valley School board will spend the next couple of months looking for a new superintendent — or at least a temporary one — the man who now has that position will spend that time answering one question: What will I do in retirement?

Tom Ben, 60, officially announced his retirement at the Symmes Valley Board of Education meeting Monday night. The letter was effective Dec. 31.

Ben said he has no plans on the horizon and has no post-retirement position lined up, although he would “never say no” if something presented itself.

“I hope I would have the opportunity to be back into the workforce,” he said.

Asked if he plans to retire and then seek to be rehired — known as double-dipping — Ben said that is not his intention.

Although he has no health concerns, Ben said he if he were to die before retirement, his wife would be adversely affected in terms of benefits.

If he were to retire and then pass on, the woman he married 39 years ago would be in a better position financially.

Asked if he could have waited until the end of the school year to retire, he pointed out that planning for a new school year begins months before the old school year ends.

Leaving in December would allow a new board — Symmes Valley voters will elect three new board members next month — to hire a new superintendent and make plans for a new school year together.

Ben, who has been superintendent since 1993, said he is most proud of what the students have accomplished over the years not only academically but in their extracurricular programs as well.

He also praised the Symmes Valley staff and the community and said he wishes the district well.

“Symmes Valley is the best place to work,” he said. “I’m probably giving up one of the best jobs in the state,” he said.