The last Bartholomew Consolidated School Board meeting of superintendent John Quick’s career was a celebration of the lifelong educator’s dedication to local students and to the Columbus community as a whole.

The retiring superintendent rarely had a moment to himself Monday night as a group of about 50 local educators and community leaders took time to shake his hand, give him a hug or share a favorite memory from his time as superintendent during a reception in his honor.

The reception was one of Quick’s final opportunities to say goodbye to the teachers, administrators and other local residents he has worked with during his 25 years in Columbus, including the past 13 years as superintendent.

Quick, whose last day in the office is Thursday, will be replaced by Jim Roberts, superintendent of Batesville Community School Corp., who steps in July 1.

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Although BCSC leaders have said they are confident Roberts will lead the district to a great future, they also referred to Quick’s retirement as a great loss to the district.

“He is one of the most successful educators in our county and also our state,” school board member Jeff Caldwell said in his opening remarks to the board.

Local educators weren’t the only ones to honor the retiring superintendent.

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop and District 59 Rep. Milo Smith of Columbus each presented Quick with an award in recognition of his service to the city and state — a proclamation declaring June 13, 2016, as Dr. John Quick Day from Lienhoop, and a prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash award from Smith.

Smith presented the Sagamore of the Wabash on behalf of Gov. Mike Pence. The award is one of the highest that can be given to a Hoosier.

In his award presentation, Smith cited Quick’s “humanity in living, loyalty in friendship, wisdom in counsel and his inspiration in leadership” as reasons the superintendent was deserving of the honor.

For his part, Quick said he was humbled by the recognition but grateful to have lived in a community that supported him, his wife Andrea and their family for 25 years.

When he was first beginning his tenure as superintendent, Quick said former Mayor Bob Stewart gave him advice that he carried with him through the rest of his career: Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.

“He just didn’t realize how easy that was going to be,” Quick said tongue in cheek.

The retiring superintendent told the audience at the meeting that his greatest strength throughout his career was finding and surrounding himself with competent employees who have helped him shoulder much of the work that led to BCSC’s success.

Quick also thanked others who supported him not only in his career as superintendent but in his life as a Columbus resident.

“Andrea and I chose this community to raise our family, and we chose you to help us,” Quick said. “This community did a terrific job of helping us raise our families and developing our careers.”

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Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.