By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — The superintendent of Wyandotte Public Schools is retiring.
Patricia Cole announced her retirement at last week’s board of education meeting.
“I have no idea why I’m doing this now,” she said, with a laugh. “I’m doing it so the board will have time to search for a new superintendent.”
Cole, who has led the district since 1994, said she will miss everything about her current job, which she will vacate June 30.
“My favorite part is probably working with the staff and seeing the kids and the teachers in the classrooms.”
Cole is one of many employees from area school districts who have elected to announce their retirements by the end of the 2010 school year in order to be eligible for increased pension benefits under former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s retirement incentive package. A limited number of extensions were available for each school district. Riverview Supt. Dennis Desmarais, who also plans to retire at the end of the year, also took one. Cole had announced her intent to retire to her staff, but did not speak publicly about it until last night.
She has worked in the school district for more than 40 years, beginning in 1970 as a business teacher at Wilson Junior High School.
During her career, Cole has been praised for her commitment to her students. She is credited with securing funding from grants and private business sponsorships to combat Wyandotte’s status as the lowest-funded district in the state.
She also designed an alternative drop-off site for the district’s elementary schools to clear up traffic congestion and implemented new graduation requirements a year before they were mandated by the state.
District employees also planning to retire at year’s end include Business Manager David Gutenschwager, Director of Operations Edward Campbell and Payroll Administrative Assistant Patricia Markiecki.