LaPorte superintendent retires suddenly

2014-01-20T21:00:00Z 2014-01-21T18:49:07Z LaPorte superintendent retires suddenlyStan Maddux Times correspondent
January 20, 2014 9:00 pm  • 

LAPORTE | LaPorte is without a schools superintendent after the man at the helm suddenly chose to retire.

The School Board voted Monday night to accept a written request to retire by Rande Thorpe, who had been intermin superintendent since July.

He was the school corporation's chief financial officer for about five years when he was named interim superintendent after former Superintendent Glade Montgomery stepped down to take a job in the private sector.

School Board president Mike Kellems said Thorpe was at the very top of the list of final candidates to become the permanent superintendent, which was going to be named in the near future.

No specific reasons for retiring were cited by Thorpe in a letter presented last week to board members, who met the following day in executive session to discuss his departure.

However, School Board member Mitch Feikes provided a glimpse when he spoke about his recent effort to change the mind of Thorpe, who voiced a need to address some personal issues.

"He said because of the situation I am in I want to spend more time with my girls in Texas and there have been some health issues. He said I just need to take care of that first," Feikes said.

Thorpe, in his letter, did say his decision was made after talking it over with his wife and family.

Feikes credited Thorpe for keeping the school corporation strong financially despite cuts in state property tax revenues and especially during the years of the county not having its property tax reassessments completed, which caused local governments and schools to operate on borrowed funds based on estimated incoming revenues.

"Rande always told me you don't spend more than you take in and that's what we have done. Even under difficult times he showed great leadership," Feikes said, who revealed Thorpe was guided by words he had hanging in the wall in his office.

"It said 'I will never do anything illegal, immoral or unethical.' He lived his life that way," Feikes said.

Kellems said an interim superintendent will have to be appointed until a decision is made on filling the position permanently.

"His retirement comes as just as much of a shock to me as anybody else," Kellems said.

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