ST. JOSEPH — When Superintendent Jim Acklin hands his son, Louis, his high school diploma in May, it will be one of the first diplomas Acklin hands out for the 2013 graduation ceremony.
But it will also be one of his last.
Acklin announced his retirement from St. Joseph-Ogden High School last week.
"I feel like I have the energy level to do this indefinitely," he said. "However, the pension system in Illinois is in horrible shape."
Acklin was eligible for retirement in June 2012 but wanted to wait until his oldest son walked across the SJ-O stage.
"I started in an administrative role 13 years ago when he was a kindergartner,' he said. "It has a nice book-end quality to it."
He began his career at St. Joseph-Ogden High School as a science teacher in 1979. In 2000, he got his first administrative job, as the principal at Ogden Grade School. In 2003, he became a school superintendent, moving to the Shiloh school district. And in 2007, Acklin returned to St. Joseph-Ogden and became the high school district's superintendent.
For his last year, Acklin said he will work to lay the groundwork for future boards and administrators. Something he has done since 2007.
"You cannot put your heart and soul into a school district for over 27 years and then just step away," he said. "I have two younger kids who will be coming through here and I want to make sure it is the same good situation for them."
Acklin said he is looking to be an interim superintendent for one or two years after he retires from SJO. Interim superintendents work 100 days a year. After those two years, he plans on retiring fully.