Prestige, perks and good pay come with the office of the South Pasadena Unified School District superintendent. But ensuring that the neighborhood’s schools maintain their renowned high-quality education also means that the district’s top official has to be prepared to put in 14-hour workdays that can be taxing for just about anybody.
“A superintendent’s position, particularly is this community, has to be prepared to attend many meetings that go late into the evenings,” Joel Shapiro, who announced his retirement from the school district on health grounds Monday, tells Patch.
“I love doing it, but it is no longer in my best interest because I have been dealing with a long-term issue for quite some time,” Shapiro said, referring to his bad back. “I realized in consultation with my doctors that I can no longer maintain the kind of schedule and workload I had.”
The SPUSD called a special meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the process and time-line for finding a replacement for Shapiro.
The search is a “very deliberate process” that requires input from various stakeholders, Shapiro said, adding that he is confident the school board will address the matter with the utmost care.
“It’s one of the most important decisions they make, and I know they will make it very carefully,” he said. “I anticipate excellent candidates who will be taking the job at South Pasadena.”
Shapiro, who will be retiring at the end of February 2014, doesn’t quite know what his life is going to be like after he no longer makes the daily commute from his home in Sierra Madre to South Pas.
“Retirement is an open-ended proposition,” he said. “I will certainly retire from full-time work because my first priority is to take care of my long-term health—and then I will enjoy the next phase of life, whatever that has to offer.”