ST. JOSEPH, Mich. - At least eight superintendents in southwest Michigan are retiring this year, some of them weary of the state economy and its effect on public school districts and others simply because they are at retirement age, according to The (St. Joseph) Herald-Palladium. One expert said more retirements may be coming as administrators consider accepting the state's new incentives.

Districts with retiring superintendents include Lakeshore, Hartford, Watervliet, Buchanan, Dowagiac and Niles, plus the Berrien County Regional Education Service Agency and the Lewis Cass Intermediate School District, The Herald-Palladium reported.

Craig Misner, regional president of the Michigan Leadership Institute, a firm that conducts superintendent searches, said one reason for the turnover is that the job today currently involves a great deal of cutting programs and laying off staff.

"It's a difficult time ... it's more fun building programs," Misner told The Herald-Palladium.

The state's new retirement incentive might persuade more superintendents to leave, he told The Herald-Palladium.

Lakeshore Superintendent Don Frank said several factors played into his retirement decision, including age, seeing through a potential bond proposal, budget concerns and the fact that other administrators may be retiring as well.

"I didn't think it would be good if we all left at once," he told The Herald-Palladium.

The (St. Joseph) Herald-Palladium, "Superintendents decide it's time to go," June 13, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Administrators retire, then return," June 2, 2010