After 9 1/2 years as the Wasco Union Elementary School District superintendent, Kelly Richers is retiring. A celebration was held in his honor last Friday, where many fellow educational professionals, friends and family attended.
Richers started his career in education as a substitute teacher in 1975. He was a physical education and 8th grade science teacher. After that, he came to Wasco and served as an administrator here for 30 years.
Although he had different intentions, life brought him to education.
"I was going to go to the Naval Academy but failed the eye test, so I went into PE as a major for fun. I wanted to be active," Richers shared.
He said he will miss his role as superintendent.
"Every day is different. Every day new challenges show up, from parents with unusual situations to situational challenges with the staff. That will obviously be something I will miss. But overall, I will miss the people with whom I work."
The party was a great way to send him off into retirement, where he plans to stay very busy in entomology.
"I am involved in serious studies of moths. I plan to continue these studies."
At his send-off party, many people came to honor his extensive years of educational leadership and dedication to the students and their families in the district.
English Learner Coordinator Angela Devin worked with Richers for 17 years, and said there are so many things she will remember about him.
"He always had a smile and truly loved being in education."
David Bowling worked with Richers for almost 10 years.
"A lot of the majority of his decisions were really about the kids with special needs and English learners," he said.
"He helped get test scores up. The thing that stood out most was during Covid."
Dr. Carol Hamilton has known Richers through his involvement in the Wasco Rotary Club.
"Where the politicians and other people try to leverage power to benefit themselves, Kelly took a common sense approach to get past the politics," Dr. Hamilton said.
"He helped get the teachers everything they needed to have to start distant learning and build back the schools after the pandemic."
Human Resource Specialist Claire Acosta said of her experience working with him, "It was fun. I first met him when he was vice principal at Thomas Jefferson."
"It's nice that he went full circle and ended his career as superintendent."
Brad Maberry will be the new superintendent.
"Following in his footsteps, it will be big shoes to fill, and I hope to keep the district going in the same direction we've been going in the last ten years."
He added, "He's been a great mentor, and I worked with him over the last 27 years. I will miss most his high energy and personality."
The retirement event will be memorable for Richers.
"I am grateful immensely for the number of people who are here. I really appreciate it."