Harrison County School Superintendent Robert E. Kittle announced his retirement following an executive board session on Wednesday afternoon.
Kittle spoke for a few minutes before the board went into a work session to consider the 2000-2001 school budget. Along with board members, a few county school administrators were on hand.
Kittle said he approached the board some time ago to try to hand in a letter of retirement, but he was asked to wait and think about his decision.
"This is a big decision that I've pondered over for the last few months, but I think it's time to consider retiring and to look at some new direction in my life," he said.
Kittle has been in education for 43 years, with 40 of those years in administration. He served as superintendent for 22 years, the last 15 in Harrison County.
Kittle said he has served with more than 20 board members over the years in Harrison County and has always enjoyed a good relationship with those members.
"Philosophies change and directions may change some, but I've always enjoyed tremendous support," he said.
Kittle said he is proud of the work that has been accomplished under his leadership, and considers Harrison County one of the premier school systems in the state.
"I leave on a happy note. This is a great school system and I've had great support from my board and from my staff," Kittle said.
Kittle's last official day is June 30. After that time, the board has requested that he stay on for a period of time to help with the transition.
James E. Bennett, president of the board, said he accepted Kittle's announcement "with a great deal of regret and sadness."
"It will be impossible to replace him with someone with his background and experience. He has done an excellent job for the citizens here," he said.
Bennett said the board plans to advertise the superintendent's position beginning next week.
"We appreciate that he will act as a consultant for some time following his retirement. He has excellent relationships in the community and with businesses. With the levy coming up in the future, his background and expertise is essential," he said.