Guest Column: Returning from retirement — again

Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson

By Tom Nelson

Last Monday I put on a pressed shirt, tied a Windsor knot in my tie, slipped on my suit coat, packed my lunch and headed out the door on my way to work as the interim superintendent for the Stillwater Area Public School District. This process is repeated every day by many dedicated employees, but for me it comes after yet another “successful” round of retirement.

I first retired in the summer of 2004 after serving 10 years as the superintendent of schools in Buffalo, Minn. I had reached the “rule of 90” (years of service plus age) and qualified for retirement. That retirement lasted one year. I decided to return to work in the fall of 2005, this time as superintendent of schools for the South Washington County School District. I worked there for the next four years and then I knew it was truly time to retire, so in the summer of 2009, I once again stepped aside and joined the ranks of the retired.

You probably by now see a pattern starting to emerge. This phase of my retirement lasted one year, and then I returned to work as the interim superintendent for the Stillwater Area Public Schools. It was a one-year appointment, and in the summer of 2011 I was again thinking of my retirement years. This only lasted a few weeks before I received a call from the West St. Paul Schools as they were searching for an interim superintendent. I took on that role for the 2011-12 school year, and then I retired for good. The next two years were filled with reading mystery/action novels, traveling to warm places in the winter and wondering if I was missing anything at work.

Well, it’s 2014 and here I sit at my desk in Stillwater getting ready for yet another go around as the interim superintendent of schools. When I was asked to return to Stillwater it was an easy decision.

I am very excited about the many opportunities ahead of us in the coming year. This is a terrific school district with many wonderful teachers and staff who are dedicated to their work and to their students. I may have failed miserably at retirement, but how many people would love to have an opportunity to be a part of one of the very best school districts in Minnesota — again! I am one lucky guy, and as you know, retirement is just around the corner.

Contact Superintendent Tom Nelson at [email protected]