Cumberland looking at retiring this year

Principal position at Sacred Heart offered
By: 

Shawano School District Superintendent Gary Cumberland plans to retire at the end of this school year, about a year ahead of schedule, and take a post-retirement job with Sacred Heart Catholic Church, pending the Shawano School Board’s acceptance of his retirement.

Cumberland sent an email to school staff and school board members Thursday morning informing them of that possibility.

That email found its way to another local media outlet, which, according to Cumberland, incorrectly reported he was resigning.

“I never told anybody I was resigning,” he said. “I might be retiring, but I’m not resigning.”

Cumberland said he sent the email to staff so they would know of the possibility before they started hearing rumors.

“I wanted to get ahead of a rumor, and it sounds like I started one here,” he said.

Cumberland’s email to staff, which he subsequently forwarded to the Leader, states he was a approached a few weeks ago by Sacred Heart Catholic Church about whether he would be interested in becoming the principal.

“I indicated that if I were retired that would be something I would entertain,” Cumberland wrote in the email.

“My plan was to retire at the end of next school year, but I felt I needed to investigate this possible opportunity,” he wrote.

Cumberland said he accepted the position of Sacred Heart principal on Wednesday.

“That would mean that I will be retiring from the Shawano School District this year instead next year,” Cumberland wrote in his email. “I have talked with the School Board and plan to stay for awhile to help with the transition in the District. I will be retiring at the end of August.”

Cumberland told the Leader the decision shouldn’t be seen as reflecting any discontent with the district or his present job.

“I’m extremely happy where I’m at,” he said. “I just know that retirement is around the corner, but I can’t see myself retiring and doing nothing. This might be an opportunity to do something while I’m retired. It was an opportunity that arose and I was approached. If this opportunity hadn’t come up, I’d be here for at least one more year.”

Cumberland said in his email to staff that it was a difficult decision.

“This was a hard decision to make for me because I have invested so much time in the District at different levels as well as it was happening so fast,” Cumberland wrote. “I will miss being here but I realized I am not far away. I want to thank all of you for the great years I have had with the District. I consider many of you my friend and colleague. I wish each of you and the District the best as you continue to do great things for kids.”

Cumberland has been with the district for 19 years, starting as a principal, then becoming assistant superintendent and finally superintendent.

His retirement is pending on school board approval.

“The board hasn’t acted on it,” Cumberland said. “It’s up to the board. They don’t have to accept anything.”

Board President Tyler Schmidt said the board will act on the retirement request Monday.

“If he feels it’s his time to retire, God bless him and that is what it is,” Schmidt said. “Obviously, we would love to keep him. Gary has done a great job for us. We would love for him to stay, but if greener pastures have appeared for him, then that’s what it is.”