LOWELL — The Tri-Creek School Corp. board is dealing with resignations and retirements totaling 137 years of experience.
Most notable were the unexpected resignation of band director Andrew Killion and the retirement of food service director Judy Knight after her 45 years with the school system.
Superintendent Debra Howe said of Killion, "We just found out about it, and we are already brainstorming."
He will remain another three weeks.
Lowell High band parent Jennifer Wilson expressed her concern that Killion's departure leaves the students without his direction for the Indiana State School Music Association annual contests. The band and individual students have won multiple awards during Killion's 14 years with Tri-Creek. The ISSMA contests will be held after his departure.
"We don't want just a sub. These kids are some of the hardest working in the school," Wilson said.
Board President Doug Ward said the board intends to fill the position for the remaining weeks of the school year with a music professional.
In his letter to the board, Killion said it was "with a heavy heart" that he tendered his resignation at this time, but a professional opportunity arose. Lowell High Principal Lori Pavell said Killion has "tremendous talent" in both music and technology. He will be a software developer for the respected Midwest musical instrument provider, Quinlan and Fabish Music Co. of Chicago.
The administration and board lauded Knight's contributions during her 45-year tenure.
Business Manager Dana Bogathy said retirement was a tough decision for Knight. She began as a dishwasher and quickly rose through the ranks. It was only "from scratch" cooking when she began, and, Bogathy noted, Knight made Tri-Creek unique in that a baker is still employed and baked goods are still done "from scratch."
Others retiring are Lowell Middle School choral director Donna Villalva and bus drivers Larry Haniford and Laura Martin. Elementary school bookkeeper Debra Sypulski resigned.
The board recognized Lowell High senior Peyton Gilmore who was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award as part of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Pavell read the letter from President Obama and listed Gilmore's extensive volunteer achievements.
The board approved an overnight study trip for the Lowell Middle School Science Olympiad team to attend the Indiana Science Olympiad State Tournament this month.
"This is their first year, and they made it to regional," Howe said.