Don Grosdidier

Superintendent Don Grosdidier retires after a 28 year career in the Eudora School District

Superintendent Don Grosdidier retires after a 28-year career in the Eudora School District              photo courtesy Don Grosdidier

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Superintendent Don Grosdidier considers himself a lifelong resident of Eudora.  Aside from his years at KU and a four-year stint teaching and coaching at Pleasant Ridge High School, he’s spent his whole life right here.  In fact, his family roots trace back over a hundred years in Eudora.

Grosdidier spent his first five school years at Eudora’s Holy Family Catholic School and then spent the rest in public school, graduating from EHS in 1977.  He has fond memories of his experiences as a student in Eudora.

“My school experience was a little different from the present in terms of curriculum and instruction,” explained Grosdidier, “but the thing that stood out the most was the relationships that I was able to develop with my teachers and coaches. Charlie Watts, Larry McPherson, Don Laws, Dave Durkin, and Joe Hanna were all teachers and coaches that had a positive and lasting influence on my life. It has always fascinated me over the years the number of former Eudora students who aspired to be teachers and coaches. I think that says a lot about the people who we have had on our staff over the years and the relationships they have been able to form with our kids.”

His career in Eudora began in 1986 when he was hired as the high school social studies teacher.  He went on to teach government, US history, sociology, economics, geography, world history and current events.  He coached football at both the middle school and high school level, but his most memorable coaching experience was high school girls’ basketball.  He led the Lady Cardinals for 12 years, taking the team to state in 1992.

Don Grosdidier also served as the middle school principle and superintendent of curriculum and instruction.  He was hired as the district’s superintendent in July 2008. He has witnessed a lot of changes throughout his years here, most of them very positive.

“The changes I have seen in Eudora Schools over the years have been truly amazing,” said Grosdidier. “Obviously, the facilities have changed dramatically and are currently second to none in the state for a community of this size. That is a very outward sign to the state that this community values their children and wants them to have the best educational opportunities. I am certainly proud of Eudora and the commitment it has made to its public schools.”

He added, “Still it is more than just good facilities in terms of change. It is about opportunity and I am certainly proud of the level of opportunity we are able to provide our kids. Career and technical education is a great example. There really are not school districts of this size that provide the level of opportunities we do in career and technical fields. We continue to provide opportunities in activities and the arts despite shrinking budgets. I think there is a niche for virtually any student if they will explore the opportunities available.”

Grosdidier will retire from his long and stellar career in the Eudora public schools at the end of this school year.  After 28 years working for the district, he will be greatly missed by everyone.  He will be remembered as a dedicated, community-minded educator who always put the kids first.

So what’s next for Grosdidier after his retirement?  “I plan to take a deep breath for awhile and figure out what the next stage of my life holds. Without a doubt I will work again, but I need some time to plan my next step.”

Don and his family reside in Eudora.  He has been married to his wife, Mary, for 20 years, and he describes her as his greatest supporter.  They have two daughters, Catherine, an 8th grader at EMS, and Megan, a 1st grader at Eudora Elementary.

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Eudora South Trail 003Assistant to the City manger Barack Matite and Parks & Rec Director Gary Scott hold the ribbon in place for the ceremony dedicating the new walking trail along Church Street.  Cutting the ribbon are (l-r:  Sunflower Foundation Program Officer Elizabeth Sewart, School Board members Joe Hurla, Belinda Rehmer, Joe Pyle, and City Commission members Jolene Born and Tim Reazin.  Photo by Eudorareporter.com reporter Diane Chrislip)

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A group of people braved the brisk temperatures and occasional raindrops to attend the ribbon cutting for the Eudora South Trail, a paved walkway that winds gracefully along Church Street in front of the middle school and high school.

The trail was made possible due to a generous grant from Sunflower Foundation along with the collaborative efforts of the City of Eudora and the Eudora School District.

“This is a great start to our master park and trail plan,” said City Commission member Tim Reazin. “I hope this leads to a walkway across K-10 to connect the city north and south and provide a safe pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Eudora Mayor Ruth Hughs said the idea for a trail began in January 2012 when a  committee began meeting to develop a recreation master plan. The input from the public indicated a great interest in additional trails and parks in Eudora. The Eudora South Trail is the result of efforts on the part of a multitude of citizens and city leaders. One of the goals in the master plan is to eventually have trails and sidewalks connecting all parts of Eudora.

Both Eudora District Superintendent Don Grosdidier and Eudora Recreation Director Gary Scott are struck by the number of people who already walk, jog or bicycle on the trail every day.

“Before the trail was even finished people were walking on it,” City Manager Mike Press said.

Eudora South Trail 004Leaders from the City, School District and Sunflower Foundation helped plant one of the trees that are being planted near the trail. (Photo by Reporter Diane Chrislip)

“It’s going to be very pretty,” Hughs said of the trail and the recently planted trees along it. “It will add to the aesthetics of our town.”

School board member Joe Pyle was especially impressed by the teamwork between the school district and the city.

“This trail will enhance the quality of life for all the citizens of Eudora,” Pyle said.

City Commissioner Jolene Born expressed much appreciation to Sunflower Foundation for the grant and for their support of healthy living.  “Without them, we wouldn’t be here today.”

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Superintendent Don Grosdidier (photo courtesy The Eudora School District)

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Eudora Schools Superintendent Don Grosdidier has officially announced that he will retire at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

At the school board meeting on Thursday evening, Grosdidier and the Board discussed possible options for a smooth transition prior to his retirement.  While no formal plan was made, options included hiring a new superintendent to be in place during the next school year or possibly hiring an Associate Superintendent who would then be elevated to the Superintendent’s position once Grosdidier retired.

In addition to Grosdidier retiring in June 2014, Peg Buchanan, the District Financial Director, is set to retire in August 2013 adding another complicated position into the administration changeover.

In a letter to all school staff on Friday, Grosdidier talked about the District plans on doing in replacing these two positions.

“Change always presents both challenges and opportunities. As a result, the board is working hard right now to determine the best way to fill these positions that takes into account our district’s culture, our organizational needs, anticipated demands on school districts across the state, and our obligation to be financially responsible and good stewards of our community’s tax dollars.”

Grosdidier, has spent most of his career in Eudora.  After graduating from KU in 1982, Grosdidier worked in the Easton School District.  In 1986, Grosdidier began teaching Social Studies and coaching football and basketball at Eudora High School and has been with the district ever since.  Grosdidier served as the Middle School Principal and Associate Superintendent prior to being named Superintendent in 2008.

Following Thursday’s Board meeting, Grosdidier was asked about his future plans.

“I do intend to keep working, but it will not be in an superintendent’s role,” Grosdidier said. He went on to add that he has not really thought about or explored any options currently.

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One of the most discussed topics around town over the last couple of months has been the possibility of removing the School Resource Officer position in the Cities Police Department.

The City of Eudora had planned to eliminate the position and use the officer currently assigned to the SRO position for other needs and patrols in the city.  At the July 30 City Council meeting, the Council had been presented a letter that was scheduled to be sent to the School District to inform the District that Police Department would be pulling the officer and reassigning him in the Police Department. The Council voiced some strong objections to pulling the officer at that meeting.

While the Council did not offer a resolution or make any vote that would prohibit this action from being taken, the objections of the Council were noted by City officials and the decision was made to keep the SRO position for the current school year.  The city will also continue to pay the entire cost of the SRO position for this school year. Officials have indicated that they intend to ask the School District to help share with the cost of the SRO starting in 2013-2014 academic year.  The SRO position was initially funded by a grant the city received in 2002.  When the grant expired in 2004, the city continued to pay for the position in its entirety.

At this month’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Don Grosdidier mentioned this possible request by the city to share in the cost of having an officer in the schools during the school year.

“You can make a request that asks the School District to pay for it (referring to the SRO position), but I said I can tell you that we’ve cut teaching staff, administrative staff, we don’t have as many school nurses as we would like to have in our buildings and in terms of priority, I’m not sure the School Resource Officer would be a position that would be a higher priority.”

Grosdidier did say that while School District officials are in favor of the SRO position, they are cognizant that it is entirely paid for by the city and they put no pressure on the city to continue the position.

According to Eudora Police Chief Grady Walker, the officer who has served in the SRO position in recent years will be assigned to full time activities in the Police Department and the Police Department will begin seeking applications for a new SRO Officer.  Both Walker and Grosdidier acknowledged that due to limited staffing in the Police Department since the beginning of 2012, the SRO officer was used more for city police activities than he was in the schools during this year.

Walker also reiterated his statement from earlier in the summer that the DARE program will continue in the school district uninterrupted and that the DARE program was never in danger of being eliminated.

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The Eudora Police Department along with the Eudora School District have released some further information about the vandalism the occurred at Eudora District stadium on or near July 8.

The Douglas County District attorney, as announced last week, has filed charges against an 18 year and two 16 year olds.  In addition, a fourth suspect was allegedly present when the crime was committed but did not participate in actual damages.

“The crime was solved by normal investigative techniques,” said Eudora Sgt. Tom Willis. “The suspects were cooperative.”

According to Eudora School District Superintendent Don Grosdidier, the damages will be submitted to the district’s insurance company and there will be both short-term and long-term remedies for repairs.  The district is estimating the repairs will be in excess of $100,000.

“We will clean as much as possible to prepare the facility so that this doesn’t affect our fall sports schedule,” Grosdidier said. “The long-term plan is to make whatever remaining repairs are needed so that the stadium is restored to its original state.”

The district stadium will remain closed to the public while repairs are being made and security measures are evaluated. It is currently available to district students under the direct supervision of a coach.

 

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