Assistant Superintendent Chris Wanner has had a busy 23 years in the Westerville City School District.

Assistant Superintendent Chris Wanner has had a busy 23 years in the Westerville City School District.

He's had three different positions and worked on 36 bargaining agreements with 20 union presidents covering Westerville's four union and two nonunion contracts.

He's worked under three superintendents, served for a little less than a year as interim superintendent and estimates that he's attended more than 600 school board meetings with 15 different board members.

Wanner's long and varied career with the district will come to an end this Friday, when he retires from his 35-year career in education.

"Time flies," Wanner said.

He said he's remained with the district by the because of the "good people to work with."

"All of the employees and all of the union groups have been fun to work with," he said.

Wanner, a Linden native and graduate of St. Francis DeSales High School, began his career in education in 1975 at the Ohio State School for the Blind, where he worked as a teacher and wrestling coach.

In 1980, he moved up to serve as principal of the school, and he came to Westerville in 1987 to serve as director of pupil services.

In 1995, he was put in charge of labor relations and personnel, and he became chief of administrative services and assistant superintendent, overseeing labor relations and human resources, in 2005.

Over the course of his career, he's earned all three of his degrees -- bachelor's, masters and Ph.D. -- from Ohio State.

Wanner said he's seen a lot of changes in the district, including the addition of six school buildings and the implementation of legislation requiring public education and individualized education plans for special needs students, and the implementation of preschool.

"Both programs have grown considerably," he said. "We've come a long way since then."

With everything he's been involved in over his 23 years with Westerville schools, Wanner said it's impossible to pick any issues or initiatives that he's particularly proud of having worked on.

"I've worked on about all the different issues, from collective bargaining, operating issues, levies," he said.

Upon his retirement, he said he plans to do some traveling and spend more time with his wife, three sons, daughter-in-law and grandson, as well as his mother and his siblings, all of whom live close to his Worthington home.

Wanner said he also plans to do some work as a consultant for the district in collective bargaining.

Even with that work, Wanner said he expects a big change of pace with retirement, since being a part of the Westerville district has kept him busy with long office hours, meetings and school events.

"It's a big district. You put in a lot of hours," Wanner said. "There will be a big difference."