For the past 32 years, Steve Adolph has been involved with education in one capacity or another, but he recently decided that this year will, professionally, be his last.

The Tempe Union High School District superintendent announced on Nov. 24 that he is retiring at the end of the school year.

Adolph, a graduate of Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, said his career has come full circle, and he wants to spend more time with his family and be there to watch his three grandchildren grow up.

"We only get to do this life one time, and I want to make sure I make the most out of all of it," he said. "This is a very melancholy time for me. The decision is 100 percent about family."

Adolph, 54, said he has taken little time off since graduating from Arizona State University at 22 years old. He started his teaching career in Snowflake, Ariz., after graduating. He moved there with his wife where he taught senior government for two years.

"It was funny because I wasn't that much older than the kids who I was teaching," Adolph said. "And we lived in an eight-wide mobile home in Snowflake. The roof leaked when it rained or snowed. I never want to do that again."

Living conditions may have gotten better for the Adolphs since then, but pressure and stress increased as he was promoted within TUHSD.

Adolph was assistant principal at Corona del Sol High School and then moved on to become principal at Marcos de Niza High School, where he had that position for three years. He was associate superintendent for six years before taking over his current position in July 2007.

"I have gotten the biggest of pleasures working (within TUHSD)," Adoph said. "Getting to go out and meet people and see how the district works from all different angles, it's something I'll be forever grateful for."

He made his announcement this early because he said he wanted the district to have enough time to secure a replacement.

"The rest of the year, we have our challenges and I still have a lot of things to do here," Adolph said. "I wanted to be sure that there is a good amount of time to go through the selection process."

As for the future, Adolph does not have any immediate plans aside from spending time with his family, but he said he would be there to help in whatever way possible if the district comes calling.

"One of the things I would like to do later on is help with the Yes, Yes, Yes Committee," he said.

Adolph said his decision feels right.

"If I felt like I was leaving things just horrible I probably wouldn't (leave)," he said. "But we are in one of the best positions in the state. We have really, really good kids and teachers and support staff."

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