Worthington school board members said goodbye to Superintendent Thomas Tucker at his last regular board meeting, held Monday, June 8, at the Worthington Education Center.

Worthington school board members said goodbye to Superintendent Thomas Tucker at his last regular board meeting, held Monday, June 8, at the Worthington Education Center.

Tucker's last day after serving four years as superintendent is June 30. He is leaving to take the top post at Princeton City Schools, near Cincinnati.

Tucker came to Worthington in 2011 after serving as superintendent in the Licking Heights Local School District and as director of secondary curriculum in Hilliard.

Assistant Superintendent Trent Bowers will step into the top spot July 1.

Board President Julie Keegan said Tucker came to Worthington "in an era of change."

"I am very grateful for all the time you took to get to know the Worthington community and you are leaving us in a good place academically and financially," she said.

Board Vice President Marc Schare said Tucker made an impact.

"Under your leadership, our instructional practices changed to meet new challenges," he said to Tucker. "We were also one of the few school districts in the entire state that were technologically prepared to deal with the new online PARCC tests.

"My advice to you is what you told our graduates: Go take your talents, your passion and your energy and go change the world," Schare said.

Board member Jennifer Best told Tucker he "hit the ground running" when he took on Worthington.

"You were everywhere -- in people's homes and at school events," she said. "People wondered if you ever slept. Your focus kept us focused and your 24/7 availability was very much appreciated."

Member Sam Shim agreed that Tucker was "everywhere."

"Your dedication to the schools and our students really impressed me," he said.

Member Charlie Wilson said he had been impressed by Tucker's "energy, knowledge and accessibility."

"You came here and right away had to run a levy and deal with a lot of challenges," he said. "You are leaving with a job well done. I am sad to see you leaving, but know that you are needed at Princeton."

Tucker thanked the board members, then said that "a superintendent is kind of like a quarterback on a football team."

"You get too much credit when you win and too much blame when you lose," he said. "I made a promise to kids and parents that we would do all we could to deliver the best-quality education and we did. I'm also especially proud of raising the graduation rate."

He talked about being grateful for the chance to lead the district and to help school leaders encourage a growing diversity.

"You took a chance on a poor black boy from rural Arkansas -- the grandson of sharecroppers -- and allowed me to lead one of the best school districts in the country," he said. "Thank you for believing in me."

He asked school board members to continue to support all minorities as the demographics of Worthington change.

Tucker wrote in the district newsletter that he was proud of many accomplishments over the past years, including the implementation of a district technology plan that put 3,500 Chromebooks into classrooms, to support online learning and a more-challenging curriculum.

"Our goal is to strive for 1:1 computing for all students," he said.

He said the district will open Worthington Academy next school year to provide students with "individualized learning options" beyond the traditional classroom setting.

"I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Worthington Schools' community," he said.