After 45 years in education, the past 23 serving as superintendent of Northeastern Local Schools, Jim Roach has announced his retirement.
In a special meeting of the Northeastern Local Board of Education this past week, Roach informed the board members of his intention to retire, effective Dec. 31.
In his official letter of retirement, Roach said, “As I reflect a bit, I know I owe a good deal of appreciation to the board members for showing support and allowing me the privilege of serving our students, staff and of course the Tinora community.”
Roach actually began his tenure with Northeastern Local Schools in 1980 when he was hired as Tinora Junior High School principal, a position he held for 13 years. He then served as principal of North Richland Adams Elementary School for one and one half years before taking the job as district superintendent in January of 1995.
“I came to Tinora in 1980 and it was one of the most significant events in my life,” noted Roach. “The most important thing in my life are my Christian values. Second was meeting my wife and starting a family and third was becoming a part of the Tinora community.”
It was a lengthy effort to pass a tax levy to build a new elementary facility early in Roach’s tenure as superintendent that he points to as one of the highlights.
“In the mid-90s we tried and failed three times to pass a levy for the new school. When it passed on the fourth try — that was a defining time early on in my superintendency,” recalled Roach.
That new elementary school, opened in 1999, still looks nearly new and will be joined by a new middle school/high school complex now under construction and slated to open at the start of the 2020-21 school year.
“I’ve always tried to have a vision for the district for the next two, five or 10 years,” said Roach. “Tinora is on a wonderful journey going forward right now.
“I worked with (former educators) Al Moore and Kent Adams for a long time and I learned from them that it only takes a little more effort to do things first class.”
Roach stressed the significance of having a great board of education, dedicated building principals and a wonderful faculty and staff in making his job the last 39 years at Tinora a pleasure.
“I also want to thank Sue Garmyn, my treasurer, who just retired after 29 years here,” said Roach. “She has been my right-hand person throughout all of our budgetary and construction efforts and has done a wonderful job.”
Roach points to his high school principal in North Baltimore for guiding him toward education and administration.
“My principal was Mr. Merle Adkins, and he was kind of a mentor to me and he reminded me that I could do something very special with my life,” recalled Roach. “I think I knew from that point that I wanted to become a school administrator.”
After graduating from Bluffton College in 1974, Roach taught for four years in Leipsic, teaching health and physical education, as well as serving as a guidance counselor. He then taught one year in the Clearwater, Fla., area before returning to Ohio to teach biology and serve as assistant principal in the Mechanicsburg school system.
From there, he accepted the post as junior high principal at Tinora and never left the Northeastern Local School system.
“I have appreciated the opportunities I’ve had here to work with the kids, the staff and the community,” said Roach. “There have been a lot of wonderful things I’ve experienced at Tinora ... and, maybe because of my longevity, I’ve witnessed the community come together in times of celebration and in times of challenge.
“I try to lead as I’d like to be led. I’ve tried to lead by example and with integrity. I take a lot of pride in my 40 years with Tinora,” said Roach.
With seven months left until his official retirement, Roach still is looking to the future of Northeastern Local Schools.
“Right now, I’m focused on the next seven months,” said Roach. “I’ve met with my principals and my board and I think we have a shared vision moving forward with the school district.”
The Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center will be conducting the search for the new superintendent and will be accepting applications for the position through the end of June.
As for what the future holds, Roach intends to continue to monitor the new school construction, but is looking forward to more time with family.
“My wife retired from teaching high school English about 12 years ago after 30 years in the Archbold Schools,” related Roach. “She has been waiting patiently for me to finally retire, but there always seemed to be one more project on the horizon.”
Roach and his wife, Deborah, are the parents of two adult children and grandparents of five.
Their son, Adam (Erin) Roach lives in the Cincinnati area and are the parents of three, Andrew, Aiden and Amelia. Their daughter Emily (John) Baumann also live near Cincinnati in the town of Mason. They are the parents of Anna Grace and Brady.
“We have five grandchildren down in the Cincinnati area and we intend to spend a lot more time with them,” said Roach.