Allen to retire after 36 years with school district


Another change is coming to the Southeast Dubois County School Corporation and it concerns the district’s top official.


Superintendent Rick Allen will step down from his position after eight years at the end of June 2019. The school board officially approved his retirement at its monthly meeting Wednesday night.

“I want to thank the board again for giving me the opportunity to work here in Southeast Dubois for 36 years,” Allen said at the meeting. “All at one place — that’s just unheard of today. I appreciate that. I’m the luckiest guy on the planet of the Earth.”

Allen, 57, said after the meeting that his retirement announcement was not a surprise to his board members or the district’s principals. He wanted to give them a year notice so they can plan and have adequate time to search for his replacement. Next, Allen said Board President Kent Uebelhor will put together and share a timeline with his fellow board members before beginning the application and hiring process.

Allen added the board might elect to bring his replacement on sooner than his leave date, allowing him and the new superintendent to work together during the transition.

He and his wife, Brenda, were initially planning to retire together. But when she left her teaching job at Forest Park Jr.-Sr. High School after 32 years in May 2017, Allen opted to stay. He said that because he’d only been superintendent for six years at the time, he didn’t want to leave a revolving door at the post.

But then he saw how much fun Brenda was having in retirement.

“We have four granddaughters and two U.S. Army National Guard sons who are local and work here, so I was like, ‘I think it’s time,’” he said.

Allen, who has never been shy to criticize the state legislature, explained that the pressures that constantly come down from Indianapolis can also wear down a person in the superintendent position.

“Every time they meet, the rules change,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you got 30 years of experience or four years experience, as an administrator you have to learn the new rules. And you gotta figure out how to make those work. Well, that’s pretty stressful.”

He took over as superintendent in the middle of the 2010-11 school year following the retirement of former superintendent Bob Johnson. Prior to that, Allen served as assistant superintendent, working with transportation and curriculum throughout the district.

He began his teaching career as an agriculture teacher at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School in 1983. In 1992, he was named assistant principal at Forest Park, a title he held for 13 years before taking the assistant superintendent role.

Allen’s favorite part of being superintendent is seeing the impact his leadership has firsthand.

“My favorite part is eating lunch with the kids,” he said. “You learn a lot when you eat lunch with a first-grader.”

His superintendent retirement announcement comes after a few big shifts in Southeast Dubois Schools, including the recent retirement of former Ferdinand Elementary School principal Stacy Kitchin — who was replaced by former Holy Trinity Catholic School principal Tyler Lemen — as well as the retirement of four teachers at Ferdinand Elementary and one at Cedar Crest Intermediate.

Also, starting at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, Cedar Crest will become one of the first schools in the state to begin using an online education system called Summit Learning that will bring significant changes to the way students learn at the school.

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