Oberlin superintendent wants ‘spot to retire’
Hillsboro superintendent candidate Joel Applegate comes from a family of teachers.
His grandfather was a principal, his father taught for 41 years, his mother did substitute teaching, and his sister as well as many aunts and uncles teach.
Applegate himself has been teaching in Wichita, Liberal, Haysville, Mulvane, and other schools for 30 years.
“I’m getting to the point where I want to find a spot to retire at,” he said.
He applied at Hillsboro because he was tired of commuting to his current job as superintendent of Oberlin school district. Family in the area and Hillsboro’s conservative community also attracted him.
On Tuesday, he toured facilities, spoke with teachers, and was interviewed for the position.
He told stories from previous jobs to teachers after classes let out. While driving a special education bus 100 miles a day, he said, he hit a deer and a pheasant. “So I wouldn’t call myself a master at transportation,” Applegate said.
He said he noticed a lack of enthusiasm caused by burnout in today’s educators and an upcoming shortage in teachers.
“I can leave my work and come home,” he said. “Educators don’t get to do that, usually.”
He suggested increasing benefits and base pay for teachers as well as partnering with local schools to find openings for new educators.
The school board is continuing to meet candidates this week.