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Forest Grove schools superintendent to retire

Board will have a year to find Jack Musser's replacement

After nine years at the helm of the Forest Grove School District, Superintendent Jack Musser has decided to call it quits.

At a meeting Monday night, Musser plans to ask the school board to accept his retirement 'on paper' as of June 30 but to allow him to remain as the district's superintendent for another year while a search for his replacement takes place.

He said last Friday he would ask the board to amend his contract to set his official retirement date as June 30, 2009.

'I'm not going to look at it as even a semi-retirement,' said Musser, 60, who earns $127,348 a year. 'We still have a lot of strategic initiatives to work on, and I'd like to help the board through the process of finding another superintendent.'

Musser, who came to Forest Grove in 1999 from the Canby School District, said he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Faye, their five grown children and 11 grandchildren.

Board chair Dawn Pratt said she was 'surprised and saddened' by Musser's decision to leave the district, but understood his reasons.

'Jack has been a very good leader for this district,' said Pratt. 'He has led us in a very good, positive direction. Looking at the awards and recognitions the district is starting to get, that's easy to see.

'I would have liked to have had him around for a few more years, but his reason for retirement - who can argue with that?'

Pratt said board members would use the next several meetings to discuss a process and timeline for finding Musser's replacement. Musser suggested the board might hold community forums designed specifically to gather public input on the characteristics patrons would like to see in the next superintendent