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(Toledo News Now) -
Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jerome Pecko will be retiring when his contract expires July 31. He says long hours and family concerns come into play, but he is not slowing down at all until then.
Pecko said he has seen his share of triumphs and failures during his two years of service. Under Pecko's administration, TPS failed to get two levies passed by voters, dropped its state report card ranking and fell into academic watch. Consolidation efforts to transform TPS into a kindergarten through eighth-grade plan was put into place.
Pecko said the district and students have a place in his heart and he will continue to serve it diligently until his last day.
"I have been around a long while so I think it might be very healthy for the district to move on and have fresh leadership that will continue to carry the ball and to make the district to improve," said Pecko.
Board President Brenda Hill says a special meeting might be necessary to decide on naming an interim superintendent or beginning the search for a new one.
TPS parents are shocked there will be a change at the top since there was little discussion about him leaving before Wednesday's announcement. They feel he did a good job and was helping put the school system back on track.
Parents also said it will be a challenge to find someone who can move the school system forward.
TPS parent Avis Gilbert hopes the replacement will care for the students as if they were one of his or her own children.
"They make a lot of decisions that are for safety in our schools and making sure our kids get a well-rounded education," said Gilbert.
Parents said they do not want the search committee to look for someone outside the area.
"When you go outside the district it will cost you more. Not just district money, but taxpayer money too," said Gilbert.
Pecko did not come from inside the district when he was hired. It is unclear where the district will begin their search. However, some parents feel the right choice is not far away.
"[I want] somebody that's in the district because they already know the school system, and they know how it's been going with the kids and stuff, and maybe it's safer for the kids," said Renee Sturgis, another TPS parent.
Still, parents will be on the sidelines watching and waiting to see how the search goes and who the board will choose to be the next leader of the school system.
What qualities do you feel the new leader of TPS should have? Sound off on our Facebook page. Tune in for more team coverage on the community's reaction tonight on WTOL 11 News starting at 5.
Read more about Dr. Pecko's announcement to leave TPS: