Staff Writer

ASHTABULA -- With two years left on his contract, Ashtabula Area City Schools Superintendent William Licate surprised the Board of Education, submitting his letter of resignation, Wednesday.

In his letter, Licate said his last day would be Sept. 1.

"I've been thinking about quitting for a while," Licate said. "I've been in the business for about 40 years."

Licate has been district superintendent for the last 12 years, he said.

"I am not heading toward a rocking chair," Licate said. "I still want to work, but I don't have the desire or energy to work seven days a week, 365 days a year."

"Something's got to give," he said.

Licate is 62 years old and said it's time to spend time with his family.

Licate was going to stay until his contract was up in 2008 but then decided maybe he'd work until February 2007, when he would turn 63, he said. However, that all changed during recent weeks.

Licate was at Ashtabula City Hall a couple of weeks ago for a meeting when he saw an elderly couple, he said. It took them 15 minutes to get from the front door of city hall to the parking lot.

"It won't be long before that is me and my wife (Emily)," Licate said.

Another incident just cemented Licate's decision to retire. His daughter Camille, age 34, lives in Los Angeles and called Licate, Saturday, asking him whether he could go somewhere with her in June. Licate told his daughter things would be hectic in Ashtabula with the school.

"My daughter blew up at me," Licate said.

She told her father that has been the excuse for the last 34 years. On Sunday, Licate said he decided it was time to retire.

Licate has had only three consecutive weeks off since the summer between his junior and senior years in high school, he said. Licate was born and reared in Ashtabula and is a graduate of St. John High School.

Licate first started his teaching career at Jefferson High School, he said, after graduating from Kent State University with a degree in teaching. Licate then came to the Ashtabula Area City School District.

From 1973 to 1985, he was the assistant principal at Harbor High School (HHS); for three years, an HHS guidance counselor; principal at State Road Elementary for two years; and then principal at Columbus Junior High School for two years. He then returned to HHS as the principal and then assistant superintendent before becoming the superintendent.

"It's been very nice, but 40 years is enough," Licate said.

Board President Roland Valentic said the board just found out at the board's work session of Licate's plans. The board will begin the search for a new superintendent by advertising statewide.

"We're losing a very dedicated individual who is dedicated to the district and community," Valentic said. "He has different ideas but never wavers in the decisions he makes. He will be sadly missed."

Board member Steve Candela said he didn't want to accept Licate's resignation.

"Doc, I am saddened you've decided to leave, but you knew when it would be time," Candela said. "I hope you enjoy your retirement."

Board members David Sheldon, Michael Franklin and Janine Trebuchon-Wertz also said Licate would be missed but wished him a good retirement.

The board will accept Licate's resignation officially at its regular board meeting Wednesday.

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