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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Reberger prepares to retire

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Clay Community Schools will lose a familiar face in the corporation, when Tom Reberger, director of building and grounds, retires in December.

According to Reberger, he has been at his current position since 1989.

"In that job description it amounts to everything," Reberger said, "all the campuses for the school corporation and all the buildings inside and out."

He said with all the elementary schools, high schools and adult learning centers, there are more than 14 buildings he oversees.

Reberger said on a day-to-day basis, no two days are ever alike.

"We (Reberger and his staff) take care of all repairs that are reported or we are aware of, (as well as) routine and preventative maintenance on equipment, (and) we work in coordination with the transportation department in helping them anytime we have emergencies or anything like that," Reberger said.

He said he jokes about the fact that it always seems whatever building he is in, the problem is somewhere else.

"We're dealing with so many different people, equipment, things like that," Reberger said. "Our goal is to keep everybody happy (and) supplement the learning environment to keep everything to where the kids can be in the buildings and learn."

Reberger said in addition to the day-to-day operations there are also capital improvements like opening new buildings.

"In the time that I've been here since 1989, we've opened the LEEAP center, we've built and opened Cumberland Academy, we built North Clay Middle School and recently renovated all of the elementary schools," Reberger said. "Those would be the real big projects. It's nice to look back and be able to say ... we didn't have those a few years ago. Now we have them, and we use them on a daily basis."

Reberger -- who also worked as a math teacher in the corporation since 1970 before taking his current position -- said he was very involved in the design and development of the new buildings.

"I was actively involved in the design, and met with the architects on a regular basis to talk about what specific types of equipment we wanted (and) to make sure the design we had would be functional for the type of educational programs we had," Reberger said. "That's very important, you don't just build a building and put people in it, you figure out what your programs are going to be and then design a building so that program will work."

Reberger said his experience as a teacher helped him look at the building design and planning from an educator's standpoint.

"(Looking at it from a teacher's standpoint) was a big advantage," Reberger said. "It wasn't like I was just a brick and mortar type of guy. I looked at it from a standpoint of 'If I were teaching in this setting, what would I have to have?'"

"I knew who to talk to if I didn't know the answer. (I thought), 'What do you need here? Do you need bulletin boards over here, a chalkboard, (are you) going to have technology, if you're going to have a projector or a computer system or something like that is it going to work better over here versus over there?' We tried to make everything as functional as we could and having 20 years in the classroom was a real asset."'

Reberger said he didn't just have a working relationship with this area. He also grew up in Clay County and attended Van Buren Schools from grades K-12.

He said he then started teaching in Brazil in 1970 and taught for 20 years at Brazil Junior High and Northview High School.

"It was a big help when I started (the building and grounds job) because I knew the corporation, knew the people and knew how the corporation worked, and that was a big asset to where it wasn't just I'm coming in taking care of buildings," Reberger said. "I'm coming in to try to make the buildings do what we want them to do for the programs we're trying to provide."

Reberger said when reflecting on his more than 40 years with the corporation it's nice to see how far it has come.

"Being in this corporation for (more than) 40 years, it's very satisfying to see the progress we've made as a school corporation," Reberger said. "Clay Community Schools does a lot of things very well, and I think we need to make everyone aware of that."

He said he also cherishes the relationships he's made throughout his time here.

"I can go back and just count literally dozens of teachers we have in the corporation now who were in my math class, and it's nice to think that I was a part of their success," Reberger said.

He said it's nice to look back on students he had in his classroom that he has now become friends with years later.

When he retires in December, Reberger said he knows there will be a big transition, especially because he is only the second building and grounds director in Clay Community School's existence since approximately the mid-60s.

"I told Kim (Tucker) -- our superintendent -- I'm not just going to walk out," Reberger said. "I wouldn't want someone doing that to me, and I wouldn't do that to you. We'll try to make the transition as smooth as possible."

Reberger said he would also be willing to serve as a consultant on future projects, if the corporation needs him.

As of now, Reberger said, he hasn't had much of a chance to think about what retirement will be like or what he'll do because of how busy he is.

"We've got our list for the summer of maintenance projects and things like that, and I'm focused on (getting) these done," Reberger said. "I've got things to get wrapped up. We're working on the new administration building, (and) we're getting ready to make a transition into the new bus garage setting -- plus all of our routine summer maintenance."

However, he did note it will be nice to get some time off because he has never taken a vacation in his 20 years at his current position, but he couldn't see himself doing anything else.

"I can't think of anything else I would have rather done ... it's been fun," Reberger said. "It's very satisfying because of what we've been able to accomplish."

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Goodluck Tom! You have been great!

-- Posted by dmgmager on Thu, Jun 7, 2012, at 8:23 PM

Thank you for all your work !

-- Posted by coachB on Mon, Jun 11, 2012, at 8:54 AM

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