N-P superintendent to retire at end of the year

Turner appreciates time in Nashua; N-P, Rockford boards want to continue sharing

Keith Tuner mulled over the decision this past fall, made his choice in December and now two local school districts — Nashua-Plainfield and Rockford — are searching for a new superintendent.

“I’ve been eligible to take retirement for several years, and I played around in my mind with it this fall. And the more I thought about it, as difficult as it was, I decided it was time.”

So last month, the longtime educator told both school boards that he will retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year, and although he admits he’s going to miss some parts of the daily education life, he is content with his decision.

“I think the timing was really important,” said Turner, who taught and coached at Nashua-Plainfield and has served as the school’s shared superintendent since January 2018, when he replaced Randy Strabala as the district’s top administrator. “We wanted to make sure we had time to hire the best person possible.”

Turner indicated that both the Nashua-Plainfield and Rockford boards would like to continue the superintendent sharing once Turner retires. The districts also share a business manager, human resources director and building and grounds director, and those sharing agreements bring each district $146,000 in additional revenue because of incentives the state offers district to share administrators.

“Sharing has probably been the biggest change I’ve seen,” Turner said. “Before I got here, Nashua-Plainfield shared with Clarksville but that might have been the only one in our conference. Now, half the schools in the Top of Iowa share superintendents. It makes sense, and I think it’s been very helpful for rural districts like ours that face challenges like declining enrollment.”

— For more on this story, see the Feb. 18 Reporter

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