From high school teacher to preschool principal, Roy Stuckwisch always has been connected to education in some way.
Even when the 65-year-old Seymour resident worked at Cummins Inc. for 26 years, he stay involved in education by serving on the Seymour School Board and the board of directors for the Indiana School Board Association.
“No matter what I did, I have always considered myself an educator by degree and with my heart,” Stuckwisch said. “It’s always been a passion.”
Stuckwisch holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business education from Indiana State University and a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod teacher colloquy from Concordia University in Chicago.
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He is director of education and extend care at Zion Lutheran School in Seymour.
Also referred to as principal, Stuckwisch will retire after eight years of service at the school at the end of July when his contract is up.
“I just think it’s probably time,” he said. “While we’ve made improvements, my mind says at this point, it’s probably time for someone else to come in that has different ways of doing things and a different way of looking at things and maybe expanding on some of the things we’ve started.”
During his stint, Stuckwisch said some of the school’s accomplishments include receiving the National Lutheran School Accreditation in 2014.
“It’s something we’ve wanted for years,” said Stuckwisch, who oversees a staff of 23 and 159 students.
The school also has added security to the building, a school website, growth in population and curriculum and approval to receive grants and vouchers through the Jackson County On My Way Pre-K program.
For some, his retirement won’t be without sadness.
“It’s kind of like part of the family leaves,” said Lori Hill, a preschool teacher at Zion.
Hill said she and other teachers have always seen him as a support system.
“He is totally for us,” she said. “He backs us 100 percent, stands up for us and is very pro-preschool.”
Stuckwisch grew up in Jackson County and was confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church when he was a boy.
The 1967 Seymour High School graduate taught accounting to high school students in Perry Township schools in Marion County for about 10 years.
“I enjoyed seeing the teenagers start to focus more on what they really liked and what they didn’t in terms of subject matter and seeing what they wanted to do when they grow up,” he said.
Stuckwisch said he particularly enjoyed having different levels of kids in this classroom — some who learn quicker than others mixed with those who don’t catch on so fast.
“Sometimes, I would have three, four, five different lessons plans for the same place,” he said. “I wanted to be able to reach each one of them.”
He later became the business department chairman where he continued to teach and also managed a department.
“It was a little bit different than a lot of departments are set up today,” he said. “It was almost like running a little school within a school.”
After awhile, Stuckwisch said he tossed around the idea of going back to school or using his managerial skills in a different way, mostly because he enjoyed working with people, programs and schedules.
Being a Seymour native, Cummins Inc. came to mind, and the next thing he knew, he was moving back home and working for the company — 23 years at one of the Columbus plants and three at the Seymour Engine Plant.
He held a multitude of jobs in different areas, including manufacturing management, outplacement, training within human resources, order management, purchasing and customer service. He also had the opportunity to travel internationally to places such as Japan, Brazil and India.
After about 26 years, he qualified for early retirement and took it. But his work didn’t stop there.
In 2007, the position at Zion opened up, and he got it, taking part in a school that offers a Christian setting, particularly with a church he has been a part of for about 45 years. He’s also been able to interact and educate children, ages 2 through 5.
“I hear the laughter and hear the discussions they have and the statements they make and see them learn from scratch,” he said.
Stuckwisch said education has always been important to him because it helps a person grow.
“It tends to have a lot to do with as a person grows from child to adulthood, what they become in their life — not just talking about a job, but how their personality develops,” he said.
He said even in his 60s with three degrees, he still wants to know more.
“No one is ever done learning,” he said. “I still learn every day.”
At the end of July, his “second” retirement will begin, and he hopes to be able to spend more time with his wife, Joyce, who also retired in the fall. The couple of three grown children plan on taking many trips together and spending time with their seven grandchildren.
“No matter what I did, I have always considered myself an educator by degree and with my heart,” Roy Stuckwisch said. “It’s always been a passion.”
Will retire in July from Zion Lutheran School in Seymour as the director of education and extend care.
Jackson County native; Seymour resident
Wife, Joyce; three grown kids; seven grandchildren