Northwest R-1 School District Superintendent Desi Kirchhofer has announced he will retire at the end of this school year.
“Although this announcement comes early in the school year, it is done intentionally to give the Board of Education time to search for a replacement as well as time for a transition plan for the new superintendent,” Kirchhofer said in an email he sent to parents Monday.
Kirchhofer, 50, of Byrnes Mill has been the district’s superintendent since July 1, 2017.
He is paid a $187,170.80 annual salary, administrative assistant to superintendent Lisa Barnhart said.
Kirchhofer said he has “hit the rule of 80,” which means his age combined with the number of years he has worked in education qualifies him to retire with full benefits.
Board of Education president Retta “Susan” Tuggle said Kirchhofer will be missed. “Dr. Kirchhofer has been an excellent superintendent for our district,” she said. “He was a real asset and we really truly hate to see him retire, but it is what’s best for him and his family.”
Kirchhofer said he is “thankful” for everyone he has worked with since joining the district.
“From the first day of being introduced to Lion Nation, I was welcomed by all and knew I was in a special place,” he said. “Our staff, families, community and especially our students are second to none. I have been blessed to have had a wonderful career and the opportunity to work with so many wonderful educators, colleagues, families and students.”
Tuggle said Kirchhofer went out of his way to meet district students, staff and parents.
“Probably there isn’t a student in this district that hasn’t met him or seen him or had him in their classroom,” she said. “They know who you’re talking about when you talk about Desi. He was out there with the people. He was out there with our students and our teachers all the time.”
Barnhart said she will miss Kirchhofer’s “compassionate support and fearless leadership.”
“I know I speak for all of us when I say having him as a boss has made working here enjoyable and rewarding,” she said. “Desi has been wonderful to work with and will truly be missed.”
Tuggle said the school board will discuss the process to hire a new superintendent at a future meeting.
“We’re going to be looking for someone who is invested in our community and our children and that’s a big thing, that’s a big deal,” she said. “Dr. Kirchhofer, within a few months, moved into the district. It just showed that he had our community in his best interest from Day One.”
Kirchhofer said everything accomplished during his tenure with the district was a team effort, adding that he is grateful for the team he had.
“As a team we continue to improve, when it comes to facilities, salaries, resources for our students and support,” he said.
Kirchhofer said he has no big plans for retirement, but would like to travel with his wife, Terri.
“It might be nice to do something different, not being bound by a school year calendar,” he said.
The Kirchhofers have two adult children.