By MAX FILBY
Outgoing Findlay Superintendent Dean Wittwer will be leaving the school district this summer, but his name will remain here.
The Dr. Dean and Pat Wittwer Fine Arts Wing at Findlay High School will open next fall, the school board announced at Wittwer’s retirement ceremony Thursday.
“It’s unbelievable,” Wittwer said, while holding back tears.
The new entrance to the fine arts wing is part of a $2.5 million renovation to the school’s main entrance that was announced earlier this spring. The high school entrance will resemble the entrance to the Millstream Career Center and will include a security office.
The formal entrance bearing Wittwer and his wife’s name will be located near the entrance to the R.L. Heminger Auditorium.
Thursday’s ceremony, honoring Wittwer for his nine years as superintendent, was held at Donnell Middle School, one of the new buildings he pushed for after a 2007 flood heavily damaged some of the district’s facilities.
“I don’t know if you can really call it a retirement celebration, seeing as how you’re going to work for somebody else, but celebration of life didn’t seem appropriate either,” said Shane Pochard, school board president.
Wittwer, who is credited with helping to get Donnell and Glenwood middle schools and Millstream Career Center built, received framed pictures of the schools from the school board Thursday. Board member Barbara Dysinger also read a board-approved resolution commending Wittwer on his accomplishments at Findlay City Schools.
The resolution noted Wittwer’s efforts to work closely with students and parents to “ensure excellence in education for all students.” The resolution also commended Wittwer for his “display of boundless energy,” something Dysinger said is Wittwer’s trademark.
Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik thanked Wittwer for his time in the district and city.
“It’s not every mayor in the state of Ohio that can say they have such a good relationship with the superintendent of their city’s schools,” Mihalik said.
Wittwer’s wife, Pat, and daughter, Katie, attended the ceremony.
Before arriving in Findlay in 2005, Wittwer served as superintendent in his hometown of Wapakoneta.
In August, Wittwer will be succeeded by Edward Kurt, current superintendent of Margaretta Local Schools.
While Wittwer has been hired as superintendent of Allen County’s Educational Service Center, he said he and his wife plan to continue living in Findlay.
“We have loved Findlay,” Wittwer said. “While our kids didn’t graduate from here, they have always seen it as their place to come home to.”