BRUCE BRANUM/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
Dr. John Strycker, who will be Butler County Board of Education (BCBOE) Superintended come July 1, took the opportunity to visit Greenville last week while he was on Spring Break from the Algonac Community Schools system he currently supervises.
Dr. Strycker said his first step is getting to know people and was one of the main reasons he decided to spend his week off visiting the schools, personnel and community. He went on to say, “The way develop relationships is getting to people one person at a time. I don’t care if I’m in school district with 20,000 students. I will make time to go to ball games and sit with a different group of parents each time.
“It may take longer, but you establish a stronger relationship as compared to newsletters and public speaking. It is so much more effective if you take the time to truly get to know someone. It is hard work, you have to put in 12-15 hour days, attend events and ball games, but with time you get to know everyone. For me it is a labor of love.
“That has what made these past 27 years go quickly that I have been in education, and what better business than educating children, there is none. At the end of the day, when I’m retired and even then I won’t sit back, but what will have mattered is my spiritual life, my family and how I have impacted the young people in the next generation.
“At the end of the day it won’t be about trophies on the wall or the house I live in. It will be that I made a positive and reaching impact on the students,” Dr. Strycker added.
He plans on keeping retiring BCBOE Superintendent Amy Bryan involved through his transition and for many years to come saying, “She’ll never be done here. I’ll always be picking her brain and I hope we develop a close friendship. She cares and it is evident and that will be a great resource to my efforts.”
When asked what interested Dr. Strycker in the Greenville area, he said, “The first girl I ever kissed would eventually be my wife. We became best friends in school but went our separate ways after, and at a 30th class reunion two years ago, we were reunited and started dating. We talked about marriage but she said she didn’t really want to back north. It was too cold.
“I told Debbie it was a good time for me to retire from the Michigan school system and I would do a search for superintendent jobs in the southeast area. When I saw this position in Butler County, it was almost a perfect fit.
“Upon our first visit, we instantly felt a spiritual connection with the community. I don’t know how leaders in a position such as mine, which is so important to the community, can separate their spiritual life from their role. Debbie and I are very spiritual and we had been praying about, and when we visited the schools here we felt a connection.
“I took the opportunity, while the Michigan school system was on spring break to re-visit this week and get to know more people. The longer I’m here, the stronger my belief is that without a doubt this is where I’m supposed to be.”
For Dr. Strycker’s first hundred days in office, he plans a listening tour, where he will be listening to teachers, residents and community leaders so that he can better analyze and set priorities.