Ken Amstutz
Ken Amstutz
VAN WERT — Superintendent Ken Amstutz gave his resignation to the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education on Wednesday afternoon, which the board accepted. His resignation will be effective Aug. 1.

Amstutz came to the district as superintendent in 2007.

“I’ve been in the district 10 years,” Amstutz said. “When I came in, there were a lot of things that we needed to accomplish. The financial side of the district was in disarray.”

Amstutz noted that he was warned when he came into the position that a new tax levy would need to be passed, but he said the district has managed with what it has had.

“In this community, I felt as though I needed to be a good steward of their money, I felt as though that was my challenge and my charge when I came here and I feel like I have done that, but I also feel as though even through the challenges financially that we’ve had, we’ve also moved things forward,” he said.

Amstutz said he has always believed that “if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.”

“What I have always felt was that if we’re sitting there spinning our wheels doing the same thing, we’re going to get the same product every year and what I tried to do in this district - whether it was the expansion of our STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics], whether it was the expansion of going to project-based learning - is that we need to challenge kids,” he said.

Amstutz believes he has made the educational system in Van Wert City Schools better than it was 10 years ago with the expansion of both STEM and project-based learning and working on the relationships between administrators and the staff of the schools.

“I truly believe that what we are doing every day in our classrooms, what we are doing administratively is the right thing to do and I’m not sure how many people truly in our community know and understand that. That’s a shortcoming,” he said of something he wished he would have accomplished in the district.

Amstutz’s passion for education will not end with the completion of his service at Van Wert City Schools.

“I’m certainly not going to retire,” he said. “I know one thing and that’s education. When I move it will be something, I’m not sure what it would be in education, but it would be in education. I understand kids. I understand teachers.”

“I’m not ready to retire. I feel like I have way too much to offer than to do that, but I think it’s a good time to move on from Van Wert,” he added.

Amstutz noted that he would like to learn how to work more with legislators to help them understand education at the local level and how much educators do outside of educating just to have students in a position so that they are able to learn.

“My big hope is that [the district] continue[s] where we are and that you get somebody in here that’s going to take it farther than I am capable of taking it,” he said of the future of Van Wert City Schools.

Also during the meeting, the board heard a presentation from members of the award-winning, state championship Van Wert High School Robotics Team. The team will compete at the end of the month in Iowa at the North Super-Regional competition where the team has a chance to advance to the World Championship.

Coaches Zane McElroy and Bob Spath and team members, freshman Sydney Maller, freshman Nick Carter, junior Katie Able and sophomore Noah Carter, showed off their robot.

The team explained that a match begins with an autonomous period that lasts 30 seconds. This is when the robot must be pre-programmed to complete a task.

Then it moves to a two-minute period where the students can drive the robot and the main goal is to pick up wiffleballs and put them in a goal in the center of the playing field.

In the end game the robot has to pick up a yoga ball and put it in the center goal.

The work doesn’t end after the robot is made. The students still have to maintain it, update new parts as pieces break or get worn down and adjust as needed. Then when it comes to competition day, two students are designated to scouting the other teams to see who are the teams best compatible with their own so that they can work together as an alliance.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of George Scoot, a high school social studies teacher, after eight years with the district and Shad Foster was approved a supplemental contract.

The next meeting is set for 4 p.m. April 19 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Lecture Hall.