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Longtime educator announces retirement

Indian Creek’s Jene?Watkins stepping down at end of June

April 30, 2010
By JESS LOOMAN, Staff Writer

WINTERSVILLE - Jene Watkins has decided to call it quits after more than 47 years in education.

The Indian Creek Local School District superintendent plans to retire at the end of the school year.

"I just think it is my time to get out of the system," he said. "I feel as though I have put in my time. There is only so much one can do and then you have to move on."

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READY?TO?RETIRE?— Indian Creek Local School District Superintendent Jene Watkins, who has been at Indian Creek for about 15 years, said he’s planning to retire at the end of this school year. — Jess Looman

Watkins, who's been at Indian Creek for approximately 15 years, said he officially will announce his retirement at a special board meeting set for Wednesday. His last day will be June 30.

During his many years in education, Watkins has been a member of the Indian Creek, Steubenville City and Cleveland City boards of education.

A 1958 Smithfield High School graduate, he went to Ohio State University where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in education in 1962.

He started his career at West High School in Cleveland in 1965 before moving back to the area in 1967 to teach in the Steubenville City School District.

He received a master's degree in education administration from OSU in 1971, and served as principal at Steubenville High School from 1973-86. He then served as assistant superintendent from 1986-94.

"I retired for the first time after my time as assistant superintendent in Steubenville," he said. "During that year of retirement, I worked as director of administrative services for the Jefferson County Head Start."

His returned to education came in 1995 when he took the job as principal at Indian Creek High School. From there he was promoted to assistant superintendent and then to superintendent in 2000.

"During my time at Indian Creek, we have made a lot of building decisions including passing a .05-mil levy for Bantam Ridge," he said. "We replaced top block in the whole building as well as put in new windows, lights and air conditioning, which saved the building.

"We also put new windows and doors at Wayne, Buchanan, the junior high school and the high school," he explained. "Every building was fixed over time. We put in the high school multi-purpose building as well as fixed the track and bleachers at the football stadium and installed wheel chair accessibility. We have gotten a lot done."

Watkins expressed his excitement about the new junior high school project in Mingo Junction.

Voters in the district passed a 3.45-mill bond issue in the 2008 general election which resulted in the district being able to build a new middle school on property already owned by the district near Hills Elementary School. The project is being partly funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

"I am very proud of the project," he said. "I think that this modern building will better fit the needs of the students and it will help the district as well as the Mingo Junction community.

"I have been treated like a king in my time here," he said. "I feel like we have a very good board that is always concerned with the best interest of the district and an excellent staff, both classified and certified, who have been great to work with and responded in a proper manner over the years, especially during the hard times.

"The community has also been great to work with and always made an effort to work with the district. I couldn't have asked for more."

School board President Daniel Bove said the search for a new superintendent "will be in the works soon."

(Looman can be contacted at

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