NESHANNOCK Superintendent retires after 21 years of service

Hink has served three years as superintendent.
NESHANNOCK, Pa. -- Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hink, who has served the Neshannock district for more than 21 years, has announced his retirement.
"In 1980, when I first walked through these doors, did it ever cross my mind that I would leave two times and return," he said.
The board accepted Hink's retirement at their meeting last week with regrets. Hink will leave the district Jan. 31, 2006.
Board President Frank Rondinelli commented that it has been an absolute pleasure and honor to work with Hink. "You are the most competent, capable and honest superintendent in Lawrence County," Rondinelli told Hink.
Board member Joe Gierlach said, "He brought back credibility to the district. He had his work cut out for him and took it right on."
Maynard Harvey, former high school principal who is now serving the district as supervisor of public services, said Hink is a tremendous manager of people and a tremendous business manager. "I will always see you as an educator that is concerned for the students," Harvey said.
Focusing on what's important
Hink said some of the fun has been taken away from his job.
"With stakes set so high with the state assessment scores and everything else, working with the kids has been lost to paperwork," he said.
He said he plans on taking some time to step outside of his office and walk down the kindergarten hallway to enjoy the young children.
Spending time with his family, which includes five grandchildren and another due in November, is what he will be concentrating on most after retirement. He and his wife also plan to travel.
"I think I am leaving the district in good standing. I am proud of what we [the board and I] have accomplished," Hink said.
He had taken part in overseeing the elementary school renovation as well as construction of a new high school cafeteria, and was in charge for the high school auditorium renovation along with continuing stadium renovations.
Lifetime of education
The 1966 Union High School graduate received his undergraduate degree from Geneva College. He received his master's degree from Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pa., and completed doctorate work from the University of Akron.
Hink began teaching in 1970 in the Riverside School District, Beaver County. He served five years as assistant principal in the Blackhawk School District.
In 1980, he wanted to be closer to home, so he began his first round at Neshannock as assistant principal, where he served from 1980 through 1989.
In 1989, he filled in as curriculum director for one year. He returned to Blackhawk as assistant superintendent for one year. Hink said the travel time to Blackhawk was a challenge to him and his family.
He then served one year as high school principal in his home school district of Union.
After that year, he was called back to Neshannock, where he served as curriculum director from 1991 through 1999.
Service at Wilmington
Hink accepted the superintendent's position in 2000 in the Wilmington School District, where he served for two years.
Neshannock once again called him back to replace Dr. Joseph Mento in 2002.
"The district was experiencing some turmoil at that time. I felt I owed it to Neshannock and myself to give it my all," Hink said, reflecting on his complicated decision to leave Wilmington and return to Neshannock.
"I feel I have accomplished a lot in three years," he commented.
Hink's retirement date is five months before his four-year contract with the district expires. He said he would be willing to help the board until a replacement is found.
Hink said he hopes he has a chance to go to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., this year. Work obligations have kept him away the past six or seven years.

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