IPSWICH — Rick Korb sat quietly in the back as fifth-graders at Winthrop Elementary School were handed certificates yesterday for moving on to middle school next year.
It was his last day as superintendent of schools, after 15 years on the job, but Korb didn’t want any of the attention on himself.
“I wanted the focus to be on the students,” he said. “I didn’t want to take away from their special moment.”
Last night’s School Committee meeting was his last.
“It has been a whirlwind of a week,” Korb said. “There has been a lot of visiting classrooms and teachers. People from the community have stopped by with their best wishes.”
He took a break in his office yesterday after visiting with students on their last day of school and shared stories both challenging and inspiring. Most of his personal possessions had already been packed up, but a few items like a “Go Tigers” bumper sticker remained.
Korb, 66, said he looks forward to spending more time with family, golfing, fishing and traveling. He will spend summers in the Midwest and winters in Florida.
“I’ve been in education for 45 years. I started as a teacher when I was 21,” Korb said.
He worked his way up to assistant principal, principal, athletic director, coach, assistant superintendent and superintendent — 30 years in Michigan before being hired in Ipswich in 1998.
He said yesterday that he was inspired to pursue a career in education by a high school teacher and football coach, and by his grandmother, “who was a teacher in a one-room, rural farm community in Michigan. From her, I learned the value and importance of education. ...
“The greatest part is watching the kids grow and experience their success.”
Korb will retire alongside his administrative assistant, Fran Seltenrich, who has worked for the district for about 27 years.