AJ Wolken staff writer
After 40 consecutive years as an educator and three postponed retirements, Superintendent Steve Kessler has officially announced his retirement. His retirement will be effective Feb. 9, 2017.
Kessler had no prominent reason for his retirement, but he felt that he, his friends and family had been waiting on this for long enough.
“A lot of people have asked when do you know it’s the right time to retire. I think there’s just and intuitive feeling that you tend to look around at your friends, your family, your own situation and it comes to you intuitively that this is the right time to do it,” Kessler said.
Kessler had always dreamed of being an educator, and could not have been more content with the way his career has turned out.
“I feel so blessed. I went from a kindergarten teacher, that was my first job, to superintendent of the school district. How could I have any complaints?” Kessler said.
The school board brought in him in July of 2015, and Kessler believes that whoever his replacement is, the district will continue to flourish after he departs.
“I know they’re going to find a very good replacement for me. I have no worries about that. The school district has been a strong school district for a hundred years prior to me coming here and it will be strong long past when I’m gone. I just feel like it’s right for me to stop now,” Kessler said.
Chief Academic Officer Jennifer Tedford, who has spent much of her career with Kessler, won’t forget her long-time coworker.
“I have worked with Superintendent Kessler for over 20 years: first, as fellow teachers; then, as fellow administrators; and now as my superintendent. In all roles, Kessler is simply the best there is, and we will miss him dearly,” Tedford said.
Kessler convinced principal Dave Jackson to come out of retirement and serve as principal, and Jackson will always be thankful for that.
“He is the one who convinced me to come out of retirement and join the BHHS family, and it has been a wonderful experience,” Jackson said. “Dealing with Mr. Kessler on a daily basis has been the best of the best. Kessler always puts the students’ needs first and foremost, I will miss him tremendously.”
Chief Facilities Officer Eitan Aharoni was also sad to hear of Kessler’s retirement, and felt strongly about Kessler’s contribution to the school district.
“Mr. Kessler is the best thing that ever happened to BHUSD in its entire history. He will be missed by thousands,” Aharoni said.
Kessler has loved the community and friends he has made along the way, and is thankful for everyone that helped him get to where he is today.
“I just want to say thank you to the staff, the students, the community of Beverly Hills. I couldn’t have asked for more support,” Kessler said. “Everywhere I go, I get patted on the back. It’s just been a real love fest. It has all been good.”