DALLAS -- Dallas Schools Supt. Dave Voves is leaving his post at the end of this school year.
He's spent his entire 32-year career in the district, beginning as a special education teacher and serving as superintendent for the last nine years.
Although he plans to stay involved in education, Voves will be devoting some of his time helping his sister and twin brother install lighting fixtures in restaurants and resorts. His sister started Design Lighting and More 20 years ago. She makes the lamp-like light fixtures found in restaurants such as Shari's, Red Robin and Pizza Hut.
"She needed the help and it's time for me to move on in a different direction."
Voves cited his age, 54, as one of the reasons he wants to move away from the grueling responsibilities of running a $26 million school district.
"I'm looking forward to having more personal time, being able to travel, play golf, relax. I'm too young to retire so I don't think of this as retirement."
Voves said it was hard to walk away from some of the projects he has initiated and are not yet complete, like the regional technical center at Dallas High and a new school the district hopes to build in the next five years.
"I have had a wonderful working relationship with other professionals and the boards that I chair -- I'm going to miss that. There's a lot of dedicated unsung heros in this business. We have something unique in this community and that's a close working relationship between the school district and the city and county governments. I think I've had a little something to do with that development."
Examples of that cooperation are the Service Integration Project which is a model for the state, the regional technical center and strong intergovernmental agreements for the use of all the facilities. Voves has also guided the district through the maze of mandates and revisions related to the education reform legislation passed by the Oregon Legislature in 1994.
Voves' wife Kathy will continue her teaching duties at Dallas High for at least another year, Voves said. And even when she stops working in the district, the couple has no plans to leave Dallas.
The school board will work with the Oregon School Boards Association on the process for selecting a new superintendent. Ideally, Voves said it would be desirable for a new person to be hired by May. Voves said he will not be involved in the selection process.
"There are two important things a school board does -- hire a superintendent and fire a superintendent."
"The OSBA will advertise and provide us with a list of candidates and then we'll form a district search committee," said Board President Susan Humphrey.
"I wish we didn't have to do this but it will be an interesting process," Humphrey said.
"I'm happy for him," said Melody
, the board's administrative secretary. "If we could clone him -- that would be just great."
"Dave has been a tireless administrator in doing what's best for kids and we'll miss him," said John Tawney who moved reluctantly to accept Voves' resignation.
"He'll be hard to replace because he's come up through the ranks and has developed a rapport with the teachers," said board member Bob Ottaway.
"You couldn't find anyone better than Dave," said board member Rod Buchanan.
"I've worked with superintendents from smaller and larger districts and they don't come any better than Dave," said Dave Novotney, Dallas High School's principal. "Some superintendents get mired down in budget concerns but Dave always focuses on what's best for kids."
There are some in the district who are qualified to be superintendent, Voves said, but he doesn't know if any one of them will want the job. Superintendents are getting harder to find, Voves said.
"It's a big time commitment and tremendous political pressure."
Voves is no stranger to the kind of manual labor he'll be doing in his sister's business. His resume shows he's been a logger, custodian, fork lift driver, pharmacist assistant and swimming instructor.
Voves plans to continue teaching at Portland State University. He's training students to do what he's done so well for the last nine years as superintendent of schools.
"I'm going to really miss the people I work with. That was what made this decision so hard. It's like a family here."