Superintendent of South-Western City Schools District to retire

By Dedra Cordle

Staff Writer

Dr. Bill Wise

South-Western City School’s superintendent says he is ready to retire after leading the district for nearly two decades.

On March 11, Dr. Bill Wise told the board of education he would step down from his position prior to the expiration of his current contract, which runs through 2026. He will remain as superintendent until Aug. 1, 2024.

Wise said it has been both “a blessing” and “an honor” to have led the district.

“It has truly been a blessing to be here,” he said. “I always like to say that South-Western is one of the biggest small places you’ll ever find because it is a family in and of itself. We have had so many talented individuals come through here that have laid the foundation for what this school community is and it has just been a real honor to have been able to serve here and hopefully, in some small way, have contributed to making it a better place.”

Wise began his career in education in 1990 as a mathematics teacher at Tiffin Columbian High School in Tiffin, Ohio. Within seven years, he was selected to serve as principal of the school. He remained in that role until coming to the SWCSD in 2002.

Initially hired as the assistant superintendent of curriculum, he was promoted to deputy superintendent in 2006. The following year, he was selected by the board to serve as the district superintendent.

During his tenure, he oversaw a massive and multi-phased construction project that built 13 new elementary schools, four new middle schools, one new high school and various other site development projects. He also oversaw the implementation of full day kindergarten and the creation of the Accelerated Learning Center, an in-house college preparatory program for high school students to pursue college credit and earn associate degrees in two or three year pathways.

The district experienced its highest graduation rate in district history under his tenure and there has been no new operating levy on the ballot since 2009. The district does not expect there to be a new operating levy on the ballot for the foreseeable future due to a strong financial forecast.

Wise said that while he is proud of all of the strides the district has made since he has been here, he cannot take all of the credit for it.

“I am very proud and very pleased by what has been accomplished at the district since 2007, but I don’t take any credit in that,” he said. “I have benefited greatly from the talented people in this district and it has just been my honor to be a part of that process.”

Although his retirement is scheduled for Aug. 1 2024, Wise will not officially leave the district until Aug. 31, 2025. At the meeting, the board announced that Wise would serve as the special assistant to the new superintendent to help with the transition process.

“I wanted to take on this role because I felt it was important that they be able to understand the logistics of the district and be able to move through those spaces as they take the reins of this district,” he said. “I want to make sure that I am able to support them, and I want to make sure that connections are made with various community groups, elected officials, and other partners that we have throughout the greater Columbus area.”

The board said they were thankful for his decision to stay and assist the new superintendent.

“We have been so blessed with Bill being here and knowing the ins and outs (of the district) and that is what is so nice about him staying around so we can have that smooth transition,” said board president Chris Boso. “That is going to be a great thing for that new prospect since he or she might not have that experience.”

When asked what the board is looking for in a candidate for superintendent, Boso said they are looking for someone who will represent the community and someone who will not be overwhelmed by the size of the district, which is the third largest in central Ohio and the sixth largest in the state.

Over the next several days, the district will reach out to a variety of organizations that assist school boards with the recruitment of superintendents. The board said they would like their pool of candidates to come from inside and outside of the state.

 

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