HOUGHTON - Retiring Houghton Middle School Principal Jim Luoma thanked staff and students at his final board meeting Monday.
Luoma is stepping down effective June 30 after a four-decade career with the district both as teacher and principal.
"I'm sincerely thankful to be part of this system and will cherish the numerous positive connections I've made with thousands literally thousands of students and parents," he said. "I got emails from all over the world. It makes you cry."
Luoma thanked the current administrators as well as those he had worked with in the past.
"I've been impressed by the boards here, that have been able to deal with so many different things that come across our plates," he said. "Sometimes you go home scratching your head, going 'What on earth am I doing?' And it comes out that what you're doing is you're helping kids. That's the bottom line, all the time here, is everybody that's been here has been here for the kids. And that's what it's got to be about."
Board President Nels Christopherson reminisced about a time when Luoma was a Little League coach protesting a bad call Christopherson made as umpire.
"It's really been interesting for me to watch you as a teacher, and a coach, and an administrator all these years," he said. "We all thank you so much for all that you've done."
High School Principal Julie Filpus, who taught in the room next to Luoma's for many years, remembered his enthusiastic lessons about the scientific method so enthusiastic, she said, she had to close her classroom door at times.
"His enthusiasm for education has inspired me, and we will miss him next year," she said.