A A 42-year career in education is drawing to a close for Ayersville Superintendent Don Diglia, who reached another milestone Monday night when he chaired his last regular school board meeting as head of local schools in ‘Ayersville (see related story, page A3).
During her 42 years of study, Diglia taught industrial arts (Elida Middle School and Elida High School, 1979-88); as dean of students (Elida high school, 1988-90); as assistant principal (Shawnee High School, 1990-94); secondary school director (Elida high school, 1994-2003); and as a superintendent (Elida local schools, 2004-2014, and Ayersville High School 2015-present).
On October 19, 2020, Diglia announced that he will be retiring as Superintendent in Ayersville, effective July 31, 2021. This will be his second retirement, following his retirement as Superintendent of Elida in 2014. Although his first retreat didn’t ”Diglia explained that it will be different this time around.
“I thought I was ready for retirement the first time around,” said Diglia. “At that time, we were facing several levy campaigns, we had just built a new high school, so there were a lot of hours devoted to that. I retired at 35, but after two months I was bored. There weren’t many superintendent job vacancies in the area.
Diglia shared that he worked for a short time in schools in the city of Reynoldsburg during a teachers’ strike, before sending out applications for a superintendent position in 2015. On June 3, 2015, Diglia was hired in as the new superintendent in Ayersville and began his term in June. 5.
“I really want to thank the Ayersville (local) school board for giving me the opportunity to come here,” said Diglia. “I knew it would be a tough job, just a month ago the tax for the new K-12 building had passed, so I knew there would be a project to manage. I also looked at the financial forecast for the district, as any new superintendent would, and saw that it wasn’t really good.
“I knew immediately that we had to consider cost reduction measures, and in 2015 we started this process by reducing staff through attrition,” added Diglia.
While he was superintendent at Elida, Diglia explained that he had more assistants helping with the daily operations of the district, while in Ayersville he shared that he wore “more hats” which made very “interesting” work.
“It was an interesting change, in Elida I had a lot more assistants in the central office, but here in Ayersville, or as the superintendent of any little district, you wear a lot more hats,” he said. declared Diglia. “For example, there is a business manager and a person in charge of public relations (public relations) at Elida, but here that is not the case. “However, what made the transition easier was the constitution of an exceptional administrative team.
“Many of the administrative team we put together were also new, after the district lost its superintendent, elementary school principal and treasurer,” Diglia continued. “At my first administrative meeting, I found out that our special education / energy school administrator was leaving as well. This very first year (2015) I think we had a total of 15 new staff.
At the end of her time in Ayersville, Diglia reflected on several of the positives that have occurred over the past six years.
“There were lots and lots of positives, starting with the construction project. We have such a beautiful school with a unique design that is very functional, ”said Diglia. “There is a new boiler in the older part of the building, we have a new way, we have taken a lot of energy saving measures that will save the neighborhood in the future, including lighting in the 1967 part of the building, as well as the solar panel.
“We were able to rejuvenate the auditorium, which was a major renovation, the south parking lot was redone, and we received a large donation to put asphalt from the parking lot to the stadium,” Diglia continued. “Our district was landlocked and we began the process of purchasing an additional 12 acres. We had lost a youth playground (due to the construction project), but with the additional land we will be able to expand our children’s playgrounds in the future.
Although Diglia said: “It may sound cliché,” he is looking forward to spending more time with his family in retirement.
“As I was reviewing my 42nd year, I felt more and more that I wanted to spend more time with my family, which sounds like a cliché, but it’s true,” said Diglia. “Like many husbands, my wife has a list that she wants me to work on, and I have five children and 10 grandchildren who want me to do plans.
“Right now I’m making a swing and play center for a group of grandchildren, and another group of grandchildren wants one too, so I will definitely take care of it,” Diglia added. “My interest in woodworking dates back to high school, so I’m delighted to spend more time in my workshop doing projects that I enjoy. “