What Dr. Robert Crider will miss the most when he retires June 30 as the Greencastle-Antrim School District's chief educational officer are the people — the administrative team, the teachers and the students.
What he'll miss the least are state mandates and their associated requirements, reports, timelines and deadlines.
After 32 years in education, including 22 years in G-A administration, he said it is time for the next chapter in his life.
"The current situation is going to change education," he said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on school district operations and finances. "There are exciting possibilities, but maybe it's time for someone with less than 32 years to navigate the changes well. I really don't want to go, but it's time to go and do other things."
He'll have more family time with wife, Peggy, director of special education in Shippensburg, and their three children in their late 20s, and hopes to expand on work such as the master's class for teachers he leads at Wilson College as an adjunct professor.
Crider got his start in education in 1988, teaching for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit for 10 years at Franklin Learning Center, five in multiple disabilities and five in life skills.
He joined the G-ASD in 1998 as elementary principal when Greg Hoover, later the district's superintendent, moved from elementary principal to director of elementary education.
Crider later served as middle school principal then director of secondary education then director of educational opportunities. He has been chief educational officer, similar to an assistant superintendent, for the past five years.
Crider said his job is mainly to support the superintendent and he has oversight of all four buildings; works closely with the special education and the technology departments; and supervises the guidance department, nursing, English as a second language, alternative education, curriculum and professional development.
Professional development is his favorite item on the list, allowing him to go back to his teaching roots, while helping to create excellent teachers.
The district has been very successful academically and Crider said, "everything that really matters in education goes back to the teachers," including the culture, discipline and achievement scores.
He's been part of the hiring process for 182 teachers and directly involved in the interviewing, hiring and induction of 125.
The district adopted a Learning Focused Schools approach in the early 2000s and Crider is a trainer.
"All of our teachers are trained in that delivery method and it's having an impact on education in the classroom," he said. "It's just really good teaching that engages students."
Teachers concentrate on the most important part of the curriculum and student-centered instructional delivery that does not just have a them standing in front of the classroom
Learning Focused classrooms are noisy places as kids are talking and learning collaboratively, Crider explained.
Those students also learn from their early years in the primary and elementary schools that Character Counts. The six pillars of the Character Counts program — fairness, caring, citizenship, trustworthiness, respect and responsibility — are stressed at that level.
"Students understand what it means to be a person of character," Crider said. "It's really shaped the culture of the district and given us a common language."
He's had the opportunity to have an impact on approximately 5,000 students, some from their First Steps to Learning preschool days through graduation.
"I've seen them grow, develop, change, become their own person ... and hope they have a positive impact on the world," Crider said. "We give kids every opportunity ... to be prepared for the next step in their life, no matter what that may be."