COTTONWOOD - When it meets Thursday night at 6:30, the Mingus Union School Board will discuss and possibly take action regarding Superintendent Tim Foist's replacement for the 2013-2014 school year and beyond.
Foist told the Verde Independent Monday that he is going to leave at the end of this school year.
"This is my 37th year in education, and I must state it isn't an easy decision to exit," Foist said. "MUHS has grown in many quality directions."
Foist said he is very proud of how the entire staff has stepped up and improved the school, instruction, school appearance, and much higher expectations across the board.
"Just think," he said, "because of the efforts (Tamara) Addis and Yavapai College have put forth, our students can graduate from MUHS and also have enough dual credits to enter college as a junior if they choose to take those classes here at Mingus."
Foist explained that when he came to MUHS only six instructors held master's degrees. He said that 28 hold master's degrees now.
"We have risen our accountability to a performance that is just six points away from an A rating here in Arizona," he said. "State and area schools are asking questions about 'how are teachers accomplishing so many positive outcomes.'"
Foist said that to accomplish great things one must work at 100 percent and nothing less.
"The majority of our entire staff has that mind set," Foist said.
Foist, however, is not going to just sit back and take it easy. He plans to stay very busy.
"I am going to consult and help schools understand that there are ways to save dollars in areas of school leadership, management, and operations," he said. "Our state, Arizona, has reduced education funding by 28.2 percent over the last four years. I believe there will be room for a person with a different outlook to help keep dollars for the classrooms and program offerings."
Foist said that he would like to be considered for an interim superintendence, and that would allow him to work in Kansas much closer to his ranch.
"I have also been in contact with Kansas State University. That is where I completed my specialist degree," he explained. He said that would give him opportunities to instruct some educational leadership classes with KSU.
When discussing how his departure might impact the work toward shared services, especially a shared administration, between MUHS and Cottonwood-Oak Creek School districts, Foist said that is a decision he cannot speak to, as it will be a board of education decision.
"The board of education will have new faces and some familiar faces as members," Foist said. "They will guide this question, and our sister schools will also contribute. I will gladly help if I am given the opportunity."
Foist explained that he has been depending on a good friend in Kansas to oversee the ranch in his absence.
"His name is John Clapsaddle, and he has worked many cold, hot, and windy nights and days so that I could fulfill my desire to still work with students and staff, something that I truly wanted to accomplish one more time."
He said that he has two sons and three grandchildren that he will spend more time with. "I can't wait until we get enough rain in Kansas to fill up the ponds and lakes so that I can take all of the grand kids fishing."
Foist said he also wants to return all of the help his friend has given him. He said he hopes his friend will teach him more about the farming side of Kansas.
"If I could work with boards, communities and students for the rest of my life, I could not go wrong," Foist said. "However, with my ruptured colon this past March, I was scared into rethinking my future."
He also said there may a wedding in his future. "And that will be a positive outcome for Tim Foist."
Foist pointed out that he will miss the educational opportunities Cottonwood and MUHS have given him. "I made lifelong friends and I also have made enemies."
He said he hopes his enemies don't "carry it for life."
Foist said he believes the future of all Arizona students will continue to rise and fall with the direction of our state and nation.
"Teachers are facing a new norm," he said. He explained that teachers must continue to do more with less, school districts as well.
"There isn't anything a good school board can do to slow this train called - Change in Educational Delivery - and it is the instructor that is held hostage," Foist said.
The school board meets in the school cafeteria at 1801 E. Fir St. in Cottonwood.