Source: Craig Kelly | The Lima NewsRAW VIDEO: The new elementary school at Perry was dedicated to outgoing superintendent Omer Schroeder. Schroeder had been with the district for 36 years, the last 10 of which as superintendent.
LIMA — After 36 years, it was finally time to give up the ship.
After serving in Perry schools for 36 years, the last 10 at the helm as superintendent, Omer Schroeder disembarked from the district, but not before receiving one last honor.
After the Perry school board meeting Tuesday, Schroeder was escorted to the elementary school, which just completed its first year in operation, where written on the wall in the entryway were the words, “Dedicated to Omer I. Schroeder, a True Commodore.”
“I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “A lot of good people worked on this to help build this new elementary, and I was just fortunate enough to be the superintendent at the time.”
The honor came after receiving accolades from both the school board and the Allen Economic Development Group during the previous school board meeting. Schroeder had served on the AEDG board representing educational interests.
After spending the first two years of his teaching career at Lima schools, Schroeder began his work at Perry as a high school physical education and health teacher before becoming a dean of students, followed by 17 years as the elementary school principal before his 10-year tenure as superintendent. In 1981, he also served as the head football coach, the youngest in the state at that time. During that time, he developed an affinity for the Perry Township community, a fondness shared by the surrounding community.
“My wife died during my time here, and the community embraced me and kept an eye on me,” he said. “We’re the smallest public school system in Allen County, and this is a very tight-knit community. We all have opportunities to leave, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I loved it so much.”
Along with the school board, Schroeder’s family was in attendance at the dedication. For his daughters, Leslie Kahle and Sarah Kryling, seeing Perry honor their father was a memory that will never be forgotten.
“We’re overjoyed for our dad,” Kahle said. “He’s had a wonderful career here. This is a place and a people that he truly loves, and I’m so happy for him to receive the recognition he deserves.”
“Being in the district this long is something rare in education now, and that’s really commendable and admirable to show that level of commitment,” Kryling said.
Schroeder plans to continue to farm his 700 acres outside McComb and spend time with his grandchildren. Former Lima Senior High School principal Alison Van Gorder will succeed Schroeder as superintendent after his last official day July 31.