ESU Superintendent Jeff West explores new opportunities in Pennsylvania
SCOTTSBLUFF — Educational Service Unit 13 superintendent Jeff West will retire from his position in Nebraska as he pursues a similar position in southeastern Pennsylvania in the next few months.
The Nebraska Association of School Boards is searching for West’s replacement, with the hopes of hiring a new superintendent by mid-February.
“His departure is a loss for our community,” said Jodi Walker, ESU 13 business manager.
Throughout his 32-year career in Nebraska education, West has served on the Association of Educational Service Agencies council and as president. From his time with AESA, he established connections across the country. While he was not actively seeking another job, West said his connections informed him about an open position in southeast Pennsylvania. Over the summer, he considered applying for it and decided it would be a good opportunity. He will service the Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, which is the Pennsylvania equivalent to ESUs in Nebraska. LIU 12 serves three counties in southeast Pennsylvania, 25 school districts, seven charter schools and two career technical schools. It employs 1,200 staff members.
“It’s obviously a much larger organization than what I’m doing here,” he said.
While his last day as ESU 13 superintendent is not official, he said he will leave sometime between the end of April and the end of May.
“I will be here for sure through mid-April,” he said. “It will be up to the board whether or not I stay much past mid-April or not, depending on when they get my replacement hired and how soon that person can be hired, so the transition can be smooth.”
While his contract ends on June 29, he will leave by May 24, if not sooner, to use unused vacation time. Following his departure, an interim will complete the rest of his contract period until the new superintendent takes over on June 1.
West is in his 11th year at ESU 13 and has learned that educational needs change and required ESU 13 to expand their services in early childhood programs and mental and behavioral health initiatives to provide the services the schools need. He also learned about surrounding himself with good people.
“I’ve learned in my position, you hire really good people, you give them the support that they need, and then you let them do their job,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to have been able to hire some outstanding people and surround myself with some of the best people in the state.”
West and his wife, Laura, will travel to Pennslyvania Wednesday to begin the house searching process. They have visited the area on vacation and loved the area, which is why when the opportunity presented itself to move, they decided to go for it.
As he leaves Nebraska, he wants the community to know how fortunate they are to have ESU 13 in the Panhandle. ESU 13 provides quality service and has quality staff for the schools, which is among the best in the state. He also wanted to thank the ESU 13 board of education for providing him opportunities to grow and become better at his job and also the superintendents who have supported him.
“I’ve known him for a long time and he is just ethically and morally a great individual,” said ESU 13 human resources specialist Jerry Becking. “I really think that he really wants to make the right choice. He wants to do the right thing and he’s always looking to do what’s best and what’s right for our students here and for the schools that we work with in western Nebraska. That’s going to be hard to replace.”