NED superintendent to retire next year


DUBOIS — Northeast Dubois Superintendent Bill Hochgesang has enjoyed being superintendent in the school district in which he grew up.

“Nothing has been greater than being superintendent,” he said Wednesday. “This has been my favorite job, of everything I’ve done.”

But that will come to an end next year. Hochgesang plans to retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

He gave the Northeast Dubois School Board his retirement letter and proposed one-year contract. The board accepted both at its Tuesday evening meeting.

Hochgesang, 56, decided to let the district know of his plans a year early so that the board can start the search for a new superintendent.

“Replacing a superintendent takes a great deal of time. I wanted to give the board ample time to do a proper search,” he said. “And with my deep love for Northeast Dubois, the last thing I want to do is leave leave us in any any issues that keep us from doing our business.”

Hochgesang is a product of the district, having grown up in Marion Township. He graduated from Northeast Dubois in 1983 and from Indiana State University in 1987.

“I kind of followed in the footsteps of Dan Balka,” Hochgesang said, referring to the man who was superintendent before him. “In a lot of ways, he was my mentor in high school and encouraged [me] to go into industrial arts and be a teacher. That’s what he did.”

Hochgesang did become an industrial arts teacher, in the Perry Central School District. He was there for six years. He joined the Northeast district in 1993 as an industrial technology teacher at Northeast Dubois High School, which had been vacated by Balka, who became the high school principal.

“It was an incredible thing for me at that time, to be able to come back home,” Hochgesang said. Nine years later, he became the middle school principal.

Also, in 2000, he became the head boys basketball coach, which he did for four years, three of those years while he was principal. “I’m thankful I was young when I did it, because I could do it,” he said. “But it was it was a very difficult combination.”

Hochgesang was named superintendent in 2012, replacing Balka, who was retiring.

“So I followed him into the classroom, into administration, and then into superintendency,” Hochgesang said.

And he has seen a lot of changes, improvements and challenges as the head of the district.

“Our technology is something I’m extremely proud of. We were the first corporation in the county to go fully one-to-one K through 12,” he said. “We made it through some very difficult financial years. The passing of the referendum was a big, big thing for this school corporation, because it allowed us to be to be competitive with the schools in our area. That allowed us to afford the high quality teachers that we have in our classrooms and provide the needed resources for our students. We are in line to eliminate the referendum in two years. And I’m very proud of that.”

By the time he retires, the renovations and improvements being made on district buildings will already be complete. “We’ve gotten all our buildings in really good shape,” he said. “We’ve given a nice facelift to really all our buildings, predominantly to our junior-senior high school.”

His past experience helped him in the leadership position.

“Coaching was a was a big factor in how I approach the superintendency,” Hochgesang said. “In coaching, you’re leading a team of students and athletes. Whereas in superintendent, you’re leading a team of administrators; you’re leading a team of teachers. The coaching experience gave me a really good experience in dealing with the media and the public, public speaking, leading public groups, things like that.”

Being principal also helped. “I dealt with students and parents in the community,” he said. “All those things helped me to do this job and doing it to the best of my ability.”

Hochgesang is proud of the collaboration among the four district superintendents in Dubois County.

“Whether it was our work with the ROI grant, or the things we’re doing as a county now, with the county school calendar, working together on a COVID plan or the countywide in-service day we have in January,” he said, “I want to put a plug in for my fellow superintendents in the county, because they’ve been just incredible to work with and collaborate with.”

When he retires, Hochgesang plans to enjoy some time off with his wife, Angie, two children, Gibson and Celeste, and three grandchildren.

When he retires next year, he will have been in the education field for 35 years, 29 of those at Northeast Dubois.

“This has been a really good experience all the way through,” Hochegesang said. “I’ve enjoyed every aspect of everything I’ve done, whether it was teaching, coaching, being a principal, being superintendent.”

The school board acknowledged Hochgesang’s work throughout his career.

“I was privileged to have Bill as a teacher and coach. He’s affected a lot of lives in this community,” school board member Billy Harris said Tuesday. “So, thank you.”

But the board quipped that his work is not yet done.

“You’ve got one year left, it’s not over yet,” Harris said with a laugh. “There’s a lot still on the plate.”

The board also:

• Recognized the following retirements: Maureen Luebbehusen as teacher at Northeast Dubois Elementary School, Diana Terwiske as cook at Northeast Dubois Intermediate School and Regina Schulz as cook at Northeast Dubois Junior/Senior High School.

• Hired Talia Myrick as a social worker for the district and Denise Baglan as a part-time cook at the Northeast Dubois Elementary School.

• Accepted the 2021-22 supplemental fee schedules for the high, intermediate and elementary schools.

• Approved milk and bread bids for the 2021-22 school year.

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