Citing shift in standards, principal retiring

Herald Staff Writer

FERDINAND — Forest Park Junior-Senior High School Principal Jeff Jessee will retire at the end of the calendar year after 11 years in the position.


The Southeast Dubois School Board accepted his notice of retirement at a meeting Wednesday and thanked him for his service to the corporation.

“Mr. Jessee, we appreciate all that you’ve done for us,” board President Kent Uebelhor said. “We hate to see people go, but we understand there are times when they are ready to try other things in their lives.”

Jessee, 55, worked his first teaching assignment in the music department at Vincennes Lincoln High School for four years beginning in 1981. He then became a choral music teacher at Jasper High School for the next three years before moving to Tell City Junior-Senior High School as an assistant principal for two years, back to JHS as an assistant principal for six years, and then to Washington High School as the principal for seven years.

Jessee said that the impetus for his retirement, which will become effective Dec. 31, was the many changes handed down by the state, which educators have recently struggled to embrace. He said the increases in yearly testing and assessments and the changes in state learning standards were not what drew him to education originally.

“It’s time,” he said. “I still enjoy working with kids a great deal, and I will miss that. (Administrating) was a challenge that I just really grasped and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Jessee, a native of Austin, graduated from Indiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in 1980. He returned to the school for his master’s degree in 1983 and his principal’s license in 1988.

Jessee and wife Leah, who is the principal at Fifth Street School in Jasper, live in Jasper and have three grown children. He is not currently seeking other employment and said he will use his retirement to spend more time with family. He thanked the board for the opportunity to work at the high school after the meeting, adding that the job was among the most fulfilling he had ever had.

“It’s been fantastic,” Jessee said. “In this corporation, it’s really been a blessing for me to have the support, freedom and flexibility to make decisions and move forward, and that’s just been an awesome journey.”

The board has not yet named Jessee’s replacement, but they plan to make a new hire before the end of the calendar year.

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