Pickerington Local School District Superintendent Rob Walker said this week he plans to retire when the 2013-14 school year ends.
Moments prior to the conclusion of the Pickerington Board of Education meeting Monday night, Feb. 10, the district's chief administrator announced this school year will be his last.
Walker, 58, said he intends to retire, effective Aug. 1.
"In retiring, I am concluding a fulfilling, 37-year career in public education throughout five districts across the state of Ohio," Walker said in a prepared statement.
"My plans are to spend more time enjoying my family, focusing on staying healthy and volunteering throughout the area.
"I would like to thank our students, teachers and administrative team for a truly great experience during my tenure as superintendent.
"I wish everyone in the district great success in the future."
Walker said he informed the school board and some staff members of his decision Friday, Feb. 7.
After the meeting, Walker declined to discuss his health, but said his workload as superintendent has prevented him to taking proper care of himself.
Last school year, Walker spent 11 months recovering from a total reconstruction of a foot, and he previously planned to have the same procedure done to his other foot.
"It's the realization after 37 years that working 60 to 70 hours has taken a toll and I need time to really focus on my family and health," he said.
Walker took over as Pickerington superintendent Aug. 1, 2012, after being hired in March of that year.
Prior to joining the district, he spent 11 years with Lancaster schools, including his final three as that district's superintendent.
In June 2013, Walker retired for one day and was rehired by the Pickerington School Board.
That move came ahead of changes in the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio's pension plan policy, which would have reduced the amount of money he would have been eligible to collect from his pension had he not retired before June 30.
At that time, Walker said he intended to continue working until age 60. He will turn 59 prior to the end of this school year.
"It is not great news the district has received," said Jim Brink, Pickerington School Board president. "Fortunately, we will still have (Walker) for six months."
As superintendent, Walker receives an annual salary of $135,000 and an additional $75,498 in benefits compensation for things such as health insurance and vehicle allowances.
Although he hasn't made definitive plans, Walker said he hopes to spend more time with his wife, children and three grandchildren.
Barring the relocation of those grandchildren, who currently are ages 2, 3 and 4, he said he intends to stay in the local community.
Additionally, Walker said he wants to pursue volunteer opportunities with the Fairfield Medical Center's Gordon B. Snider Cardiovascular Institute and provide education and outreach to area students through his church.
"I really see that as part of who I am," he said.