The superintendent of Western Dubuque Community School District will retire this summer.

Rick Colpitts will step down on June 30. School board President Jessica Pape said district leaders hope to have a replacement hired and in the position by July, ready for the next school year to begin.

“(Colpitts) will finish out the year and just make sure things continue to go smoothly and strong,” she said.

Colpitts has led the district since 2015. Previously, he was an assistant principal at Dubuque Senior High School and a human resources manager for Dubuque Community Schools.

Colpitts said the decision to retire was not a quick one and that he has been pondering it for the past year and a half, officially making the decision in November. He said he isn’t yet sure what is next for him.

“I’m probably not done working, I’m too young for that,” Colpitts said.

Pape noted that district leaders were aware ahead of time that Colpitts might soon be retiring. She said officials have been researching firms to assist with their search for the district’s next superintendent.

The school board will consider Colpitts’ retirement at its meeting on Monday, Jan 17. Immediately following the meeting, the board is scheduled to have a work session with search firm McPherson & Jacobson LLC to discuss next steps.

Pape said she and other school board members are happy for Colpitts and his next chapter outside the district.

“I have been on the board the entire time he’s been here and just seen the direction of how the (district) has grown,” Pape said. “We want to see that momentum continue.”

In a letter to the district community, Colpitts said his time in K-12 education has come to an end and that the decision comes at the right time for him and his wife.

“Over the course of the past 38 years, I have worked in five different school systems as a teacher, a coach, an assistant principal, a principal, a business manager, a human resources director, and a superintendent,” Colpitts said in the letter. “I can honestly say that I really loved every position I have ever held, mostly because of the amazing people I have had the opportunity to work with each day.”

Colpitts said the next superintendent will have to keep an eye on the pandemic, as it has impacted schooling for multiple years.

Colpitts praised WD’s staff and said the next superintendent will have a great team.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have this job,” he said.

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