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Spencerville bids Hatfield adieu PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, December 29, 2013 9:00 PM

BY CYNTHIA YAHNA

Herald Correspondent

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SPENCERVILLE — Spencerville School District said goodbye to Superintendent Joel Hatfield at a reception held Sunday afternoon at the K-12 building where colleagues, friends, family and school board members wished Hatfield a fond farewell and good luck on his retirement.

Building new schools, maintaining the operation through state budget cuts in a slow economy and making students competitive on a national level are significant tasks Hatfield tackled during his time as the superintendent of Spencerville Schools.

Hatfield said the biggest challenge came from outside his buildings.

“The hardest thing was dealing with policies with the state and federal government, many of which were not in the best interests of the students,” he said.

Hatfield, who began as a middle school social studies teacher in the district in Fall 1978, coached middle school and varsity football and middle school and varsity girl’s basketball. He became high school principal in 1991 and then went to the position of superintendent in 1999.

His accomplishments during his coaching time include middle school football NWC championship in 1984; middle school girl’s basketball NWC championships in 1986 and 1988 and tournament champs in 1988; varsity girls basketball district runners-up 1989-90 and 1990-91; NWC runners-up 1990-91; and sectional champs 1990-91.

Hatfield’s biggest and most noticeable accomplishment at Spencerville was overseeing the building of the new K-12 facility. For the more than four years of planning, designing, implementation, building and move-in, Hatfield was involved 24/7. School board members said his attention to detail and insistence for quality workmanship afforded the school a beautiful facility.

“His daily on-site direction kept mistakes to a minimum, schedules on time and the project under budget. Even after the move in January 2007, his constant attention to the few issues we had rectified and made right which will benefit this district for years to come,” they said.

While his leadership role in the school is his greatest personal accomplishment, his has fond memories of his climb up the ladder and a particularly humbling experience.

“I was substituting for a teacher in a 300-student study hall and one of the students came up to where I was and informed me that my zipper was down,” he said with a laugh.

Hatfield’s education began in 1970 when he graduated from Kenton Senior High School (went to Waynesfield until his senior year). He graduated in 1977 from The Ohio State University with a degree in education; from the University of Dayton in 1987 with a masters of science in educational administration; served in the U.S. Army 1971-74 (stationed in Korea). He is also a member of the VFW and American Legion; has served as a board trustee and president of the board at Spencerville United Church of Christ; and also served as a member of the Spencerville Chamber of Commerce and the Spencerville Community development council.

Hatfield received a picture of the school built during his tenure as superintendent at Spencerville. The photos was signed by well-wishers.Shortly after his retirement, Hatfield plans to take his Harley Davidson motorcycle to Florida and ride with his buddy. His wife, Tish, will continue to work for several more years.

He will retire officially on Tuesday, concluding 35 1/2 years of service to the Spencerville Schools.

 

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