By Jim Byrne Edited for Archive
Ed Shine has been working for a long time. The 68-year-old has spent 46 years as an educator – including the last 15 as Rye City Schools’ Superintendent – and, in his youth, was employed as a newspaper delivery boy, grocery bagger, and pharmacy assistant.
It should have come as no surprise then, in a letter to members of the school community July 29, Dr. Shine announced that – with a “career fulfilled” – he had already informed the Board of Education he would retire effective June 30, 2012.
“With a year’s advance notice of my retirement, the Board can meet all its obligations for providing school and community input opportunities and complete the national search that Rye deserves to find its next superintendent,” said Dr. Shine in the letter.
He continued, “I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in such a warm, welcoming community – one that truly values the importance of a high-quality education for its children. I have greatly enjoyed seeing our educational program evolve in such a positive fashion over the years, and I take personal satisfaction in the achievements and successes of our students, noting the great work of our teachers and administrators. It is an honor to have been a small part of student and teacher achievements.”
In a later conversation Dr. Shine said he didn’t realize how difficult it would be to make the decision, but felt it important to allow for an organized selection process similar to the search the District conducted last year for a new high school principal. For an orderly transition, he said, most search firms recommend the Board select the new appointment by April.
The son of Irish immigrants who embraced education as a vehicle for success, Dr. Shine was the second youngest of seven children, all of whom graduated from college and obtained Master’s degrees. He and his wife, Madeline, moved from Grosse Pointe, Mich., in 1996, after Dr. Shine was hired to replace Barry Farnum as Rye’s superintendent. They settled 38 miles away in Easton, Conn., and Dr. Shine still gets up at 5 a.m. every morning to begin his day.
“Mrs. Shine says she is looking forward to having me around, but whether that is a reality we’ll find out soon,” joked Dr. Shine.
The superintendent’s mother always told him to “remember only the happy times”, and Dr. Shine has had many in the District. His achievements include everything from top school rankings to an added emphasis on college placement, and he’s also been present for an enrollment increase of 1,000 students since his first day. But, he added, there were of course difficult times interspersed – budget rejections and personnel issues that created tension in the community.
Once Dr. Shine shepherds Rye through one last year school year, however, he plans on embracing St. Augustine’s ancient Roman ideal of “otium liberale” – a creative retirement of writing, reading, and reflecting. But, true to his Irish immigrant roots, he isn’t leaving out the possibility of more work, perhaps as a teacher or consultant.
Sometimes it’s just in your blood.