Superintendent Larry Zimmerman is stepping down after 40 years in the Marysville Exempted Village School District.

Superintendent Larry Zimmerman is stepping down after 40 years in the Marysville Exempted Village School District.

Zimmerman, who said he is proud to be a Monarch, announced his resignation at the July 25 board of education meeting. The board accepted his resignation, effective Feb. 3, 2012, five months before his five-year contract was set to expire.

"I need to decide what to do when I grow up," Zimmerman said.

He said his family played a large role in helping him make his decision to leave. His wife, Brenda, is a retired Marysville elementary school teacher and the youngest of his three sons just graduated from high school in June.

In addition, he said the looming financial crisis due to state budget cuts signaled that a change in leadership might do the district some good.

"From a family standpoint it's time," Zimmerman said.

As a Little League baseball coach right out of high school, Zimmerman said he knew he wanted to be an educator.

"I love the kids. That's the reason I got into this business," he said.

Zimmerman began his 40-year career in the district in 1972 as a middle school social studies teacher.

"I love middle school kids," he said. "They're just goofy and fun, high-energy and honest."

During his time in the district, Zimmerman held stints as a guidance counselor, football, track and basketball coach, became an administrator in 1977 and the district's superintendent in 1997.

"Early in my career, I thought I wanted to be a superintendent and then the longer I was in my career, I thought maybe being an assistant superintendent is more my calling. But they (the board) talked me into it and it's been a good 15 years," he said.

When he began his tenure as superintendent, Zimmerman said he had to learn the business side of the district, but never forgot the education side.

"If you ever lose sight of that, you've lost sight of the real purpose of being in this business," he said.

Although Zimmerman had multiple opportunities to leave the district, he said he never wanted to leave "home."

"At the end of the day it always came down to, 'Where do you want your family to be?'" he said. "Marysville was always incredibly welcoming and a good place for me and my family."

As for his legacy, Zimmerman said he always worked to do what is best for the students and the district.

"My beliefs are that you have to be a good listener and you have to treat people well," he said. "I feel as though I've been a very good listener and I feel as though I've treated people well, and I've stood firm for what I believe is what the community wants out of their school district."

Preliminary reports show that the Ohio Department of Education has rated each Marysville school, as well as the entire district, excellent for the 2010-11 school year, giving Zimmerman the best grade card of his career as superintendent.

"As a district, our achievement continues to improve," he said. "We're a better school district than what we were years ago.

"And I'm very proud of that," he added.

Board President Jeff Mabee has worked closely with Zimmerman for the last three years but said he has known him for much longer than that.

"I don't think that anybody cared more about what happened to our students, than Larry did," Mabee said. "As far as I'm concerned, every decision that he made was always in the best interest of our students.

"That guy, to the core, cared about the students of our district," he added.

Zimmerman said the two things he will miss the most are the people and the challenges.

"I love the daily work of the superintendent," he said. "Figuring out what to no next is a great jigsaw puzzle. I love it."

As for what is next, Zimmerman said he doesn't know, but his plans are to stay in Marysville.

"I will stay busy. I have to do something," he said. "I will continue to work, but I'm going to take some time to figure it out."

The board will soon begin a search for someone to replace Zimmerman as superintendent, but details of the process have not been determined, Mabee said.

"It's a great place," Zimmerman said of the Marysville school district. "I hope the next person will treat it the same way."