WILLIAMS BAY — After nearly six years as school superintendent, Wayne Anderson is planning to retire.

Anderson told school board members March 9 that he will leave the Williams Bay School District at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Anderson presented the school board with a proposed timeline for hiring a new superintendent, saying he would formally present his retirement letter at the July 8 board meeting.

He admitted to having some reluctance about leaving the job.

“I love seeing the staff and kids,” he said. But, he added: “I’ve always wanted to leave when people wanted me to stay.”

School board members said the new Williams Bay Elementary School, built in 2016, will always be Anderson’s legacy to the school district.

But there are other, less tangible things that Anderson has done to improve the schools and district morale, they said.

“He’s worked hard,” school board president Jack Lothian said. “He’s leaving behind a great school district.”

Anderson, who is paid $125,000 a year, came on as Williams Bay superintendent in July 2013. He was hired on a one-year contract to help the district prepare the way for a bond-issue referendum to pay for the new elementary school.

Since the one-year contract, Anderson has been renewed on two-year contracts, with the current one scheduled to continue until June 30, 2020.

According to Anderson’s proposed timeline for finding his successor, the school board will decide on job qualifications and post the job vacancy by Nov. 15.

Following creation of an interview committee in December, top candidates will be interviewed through January.

The school board will select a new administrator in late January or early February 2020. His or her contract will be approved by Feb. 10, 2020.

Anderson told the board that he did not want to be an active part of the search for a new superintendent. He said he would greet candidates and give them a tour of the district’s K-12 building, but he does not want to be a part of the interview process.

He said he was already feeling “separation anxiety” about leaving the district.

School board members had high praise for the superintendent.

Dave Ripple, school board vice president, said that with completion of the new elementary school in 2016, Anderson refocused the district on education. The district currently is setting up a learning program called “Continuous Improvement.”

“That’s Wayne’s contribution on his way out,” Ripple said. “He’s got us on the right course.”

Added Lothian: “He got us refocused on our community culture. He leaves behind a focus on what’s important to the community and the school.”

School board member Kristi Granberg said Anderson brought compassion to his job for staff and students.

“That’s why I have so much faith in what Dr. Anderson is doing, is that he leads with compassion,” she said.

School board member Dianna Woss said that, in addition to a new building, Anderson has also generated a positive attitude among the teachers.

“We’ll miss him dearly,” she said.

Anderson said he and his wife, Susan, live in the town of Delavan. They like to travel, but they also plan to make their permanent home in the area.

Anderson said he likes to work, and he is not sure he’s ready to stop entirely. After he retires from Williams Bay, he may take short-term contracts with school districts as an interim superintendent.

He said he is proud of the Williams Bay schools he will leave behind next year.

“I think this will be a great district,” he said, “for whoever succeeds me.”

Chris Schultz has been a reporter for more than 40 years. He has been with the Lake Geneva Regional since 2010. He covers the Lake Geneva City Council and the Lake Geneva area schools.