Paschke ending his tenure

FAIRMONT – When Dave Paschke enrolled in college as a math major, computers were just beginning to take hold in society.

After graduation, when he began teaching math and coaching, he took an interest in the emerging technology. It propelled him into a job working primarily with it, eventually as director of instruction and technology at Fairmont Area Schools.

It was natural progression from there, he said, to administration.

“There was a time when I was doing some teaching, administration and technology at the same time,” he said.

In June, Paschke will retire as principal of Fairmont High School.

He was hired at Fairmont in 1979, his first real teaching job.

Over the years, he has seen changes in what is expected of students. He used an example from the math department. When he began teaching in Fairmont, advanced algebra was a class only for the college-bound. Now, the same class is a graduation requirement for everyone.

“A lot of people are saying education is going downhill,” he said, “but they need to look at the facts.”

As the years passed, Paschke found it became more difficult to get homes, schools, communities and churches on the same page.

“When there are cases when it works, the kids really turn out great,” Paschke said. “But when two of those start to butt heads, it is a problem.”

What Paschke has enjoyed most during his time at Fairmont is the opportunity to work with the teachers.

“The teachers in this building, and probably the whole district, but I am most familiar with this building, really want to learn to do things better,” he said.

Bob Millette has been working with Paschke since he began in the district. Millette joined Fairmont in 1973. Although he worked with Paschke in a variety of roles, it was Paschke’s technological foresight that really shined.

“I think Mr. Paschke’s biggest accomplishment in the Fairmont Schools is his ability to look to the future for our technological needs,” Millette said. “He had a vision that helped to put Fairmont years ahead of other districts. The district now has updated computers, Smart Boards, laptops, Kindles and other aides to help teachers bring the outside world into the classroom.”

While Paschke is retiring from Fairmont, he isn’t quite ready to surrender himself to a recliner yet. He has taken a position with South Central Service Cooperative’s technology working group, serving in 30 school districts and 30 school libraries, including Fairmont.

“I get to keep doing this, but in a new way,” he said of his new job. “It will be much more focused, and I can be an active teacher.”

Paschke’s retirement does put added pressure on the Fairmont district, which is in process of revamping its administrative team for the coming years.

The district recently announced a plan to change up its administration, including hiring an assistant principal at the high school, and dean of students at the elementary school. Paschke’s resignation will slow the search for an assistant principal, despite many applications already having been received. The principal position has been posted, and a search has begun.

Paschke plans to continue living in Fairmont, as his wife will continue to work in the Fairmont district.