Brinker says farewell

SHADYSIDE – Superintendent Terry Brinker has decided to retire after 35 years of teaching, coaching and working as an administrator. His letter was accepted at the November school board meeting. His retirement will begin in February, and current Shadyside High School Principal John Haswell will take Brinker’s place as superintendent, as well as remain the high school principal.

Brinker began teaching at Bellaire, his alma mater, in the fall of 1978. His primary grades were middle school to high school with classes including social studies, government and American history, but the greater portion of his teaching career was spent teaching special education.

“But my primary interest was when I got involved with the coaching, and I got involved with the special education. I found those to be to my liking,” said Brinker. “I got to be a lot more involved with the individuals personally by writing IEP’s and working with the individual needs of children.”

Brinker first decided to become an educator during his college career when he was asked to be a coach.

“I found that I really enjoyed that relationship of working with young men and women and trying to be a mentor to them, giving them opportunities and recognizing that if they have a challenge or a goal, that they can achieve those things,” said Brinker. “At this point in my career, I have been involved in a lot of young people’s lives, as every teacher has, and I thank each of them for the opportunity to serve them and hopefully have some positive impact on them and what they’ve done.”

One of the things that Brinker is sure he will miss is the day to day interactions with the students, since educators become very involved in the children’s lives. Brinker also feels that it is the downfall of becoming an administrator.

Brinker became an administrator is 1995, when he became a special education supervisor. Though he may not get to interact with the students everyday like he did as a teacher, he has tried to get to know the students personally and by name. It made his job more enjoyable.

He first came to Shadyside in 2000 as a principal of the elementary school. He was at Bellaire at the time. Brinker is a West Liberty graduate, and he then furthered his education at Franciscan University and the University of Dayton. When he first graduated, he primarily coached football.

In his second year out of college, he came to Shadyside in the fall of 1979 and started the wrestling program when he was in his early 20s. He was there for two years before he was invited back to Bellaire High School in the early ’80s, where Brinker became the head wrestling coach. He led that program for 10 years before stepping away. Along with wrestling and football, he spent some time coaching track as well. When his three children started into high school sports, Brinker knew it was time to step aside and watch them compete.

“I treasure the opportunity to work with the young people and my co-workers. I look back over the years and the ones that had preceded me in this profession and those who are still here,” said Brinker. “I have family in education and my advice to them is to enjoy it. It will go quickly, even though many days it feels like it is never going to be that way. After 35 years, it doesn’t feel like that long ago that I began this journey in education.”

Brinker will be officially end his career in education in February. Haswell’s official start date as superintendent and high school principal is March 1.