Nine years ago in October, the Worthington Board of Education named me Superintendent of Worthington Schools. One of my first challenges was instituting a new governance structure for our central office and reinstituting the position of Director of Secondary Education. The role would supervise our middle school and high school programs and be responsible for most everything at those grade levels including co-curricular activities, discipline, class sectioning and thus staffing levels, etc…It was a big role and one where we needed a special person.
Enter Dr. Neil Gupta.
Neil came to Worthington with administrative experience in Ashland City Schools and in New Albany Schools. He was well known throughout the State of Ohio for his positive social media presence and his work with education organizations such as the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. I knew of Neil but didn’t really know Neil, nor did Neil know me. We met at a Panera in Westerville for a cup of coffee to discuss the position. Neil took a leap of faith and joined our team in Worthington. I’m thankful every day that he chose to do so.
Neil has been our Director of Secondary Education for the past eight years. He’s known sometimes as the selfie guy. He’s never met a person that he doesn’t know or who isn’t about to become a friend. And, while those things that people see on the outside are all true, they don’t tell the real story of Neil.
Neil works. He works early in the morning. He works late at night. I never once had to worry whether something in Neil’s area would be taken care of. He never drops the ball. He’s also relentlessly positive. Neil was tasked for eight years with doing some of the most difficult work in our organization. He held expulsion hearings, suspension appeals, and did harassment investigations. No one gets into education to do these things. Neil never complained. He never asked for the tasks to be moved to someone else. Neil came to work every day with a smile and said to me…”Anything I can do to make your job easier?” Everyday!
When I talk to my adult children about how to be successful in life, I often share with them what I witness in Neil’s daily actions. Not the out front stuff with pictures, blogs, etc…the behind the scenes, daily work ethic, daily positive attitude, and daily desire to do more than what is expected.
As we conclude this school year, Neil is moving to Dayton to become the Superintendent of Oakwood City Schools. Oakwood is lucky to have Neil and Kari joining their community. As my grandfather would often say…”they’re just good people.” And yet, they are so much more.
On a personal level, I’ll miss working with Neil every day. I’m better for having learned from him. At an organizational level, Neil made Worthington better too. Thus, on behalf of Worthington Schools, I’d like to publicly thank Neil for his investment in our community. #ItsWorthIt
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent