Longtime Alpena Public Schools employees to retire

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Thunder Bay Junior High School Principal Steve Genschaw works at his desk Wednesday at the school.

ALPENA — Alpena Public Schools will be saying goodbye to 17 longtime employees who have chosen to retire this year.

Matt Poli, executive director for human resources and labor relations, announced the retirements during the board of education’s March and April regular board meetings. APS employees retiring this year include three principals, 11 teachers, one maintenance employee, one custodian, and one bus driver.

Lincoln Elementary Principal Hans Stevens, and Thunder Bay Junior High School Principal Steve Genschaw will be retiring effective June 30 while Wilson Elementary Principal Lisa Hilberg will retire effective Aug. 31.

While Genschaw admits it’s been a challenging year serving as principal during the pandemic, he said that’s not the reason he’s retiring.

“The time is right,” he said. “It’s time to let some younger, aspiring professionals take things to the next level.”

Genschaw has worked in the district for 30 years. Many of his colleagues, who have also chosen to retire this year, have also worked for the district the majority of their careers.

Every employee to announce their retirement over the past two months has worked for the district for at least 20 years. Some of those retiring have worked for APS for as long as 31 years.

The retirements continue a trend of cyclical retirements for the district, which stems from a large group of employees being hired in the 1980s and 90s, who are now planning to retire.

Poli told The News in December district officials expect the trend of seeing longtime employees to continue for another three to four years.

Meanwhile Superintendent Dave Rabbideau said the district has already posted several of its positions online and has started conducting interviews.

The district on Wednesday had 13 positions posted online, including five high school teaching positions.

Rabbideau said district officials are still trying to figure out what enrollment will look like in the fall and what the district’s budget will look like, which would help determine staffing needs.

Rabbideau said district officials are concerned about finding teachers to fill the available positions, however, he said APS is not alone. He said districts statewide faced a teacher shortage before the coronavirus pandemic began and that the pandemic has exacerbated the problem for school districts.

He said APS officials are considering using some of its federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to use as teacher signing bonuses and other things to recruit teachers to the district.

“We’re exploring those. We haven’t settled on anything yet. There may be more options available to us,” he said.

He said there are also a lot of internal candidates for positions.

“The great thing about home grown is you know them, you can train them, and raise them up,” he said. “We’re excited and hopefully the best candidates are internal candidates.”


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