Saturday, November 3, 2007

Educational Maven steps down next year

Dr. Fred Podorf probably won’t get any medals, Nobel prizes, or sashes that say, “All-Star” across them when he steps down from being Assistant Superintendent of Vernon Township at the start of the next year.

But, like many educators who dedicate their entire lives to the grander goal of helping a child succeed in life, Dr. Podorf deserves many of those accolades and more as he departs from the field of education on January 1st. As he puts it, after 35 years of dedicating his life to the children, it’s finally “time to retire.”

Even so, starting out, education was always Dr. Podorf’s dream job, even back to when he was a student himself.

“I remember back when I was in high school,” says Dr. Podorf, reminiscing on his luminous past. “I always wanted to be a school principal.”

He had to go the long route like everybody else, though, and began his career as a junior high teacher in Brooklyn, New York, where he taught English to the youth. This is something he would go on to do for quite some time in other schools for a multitude of children before he would eventually move on to Montville in ’76, and then finally to Vernon Township where he is now.

And where he’s been since 1981.

“I have no regrets,” says Dr. Podorf of his life-long adventure.
But his resume doesn’t just offer a long blank dash from 1981 to now in regards to his 26 year stint in the district. Along with his work as assistant Principal, director of personnel and policy, and assistant Superintendent (which he became in 1995), Dr. Podorf also worked to open a brand new school in 1987 called the Cedar Mountain Primary School, which still stands to this day on Sammis Road.

“My heart is [still there] in the building with the children,” says Dr. Podorf.

Shortly after his stint as principal of the school he founded, the higher-ups came a calling and requested that the good doctor move up a spot on the educational totem pole.

But it wasn’t as easy as just packing up a suitcase and moving on as he had already formed a strong bond with the building as well as the people inside it.

“It took a lot of consideration, but I took [the job]” says Dr. Podorf. “The interaction with the people is what I missed the most.”

Be that as it may, he still stands by his decision that he feels no regrets with any of the actions he took to get to where he is today.

“Vernon’s been very good to me,” he says, pausing for a second to collect his thoughts, “I just hope I did a good job for Vernon.”

With that kind of humble attitude, who needs a sash that says, “All-Star” on it?

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