“I can’t wait to get up in the morning and go to work.”
How many people can say that with complete and total honesty? Not many.
Yet Kent Adams counts himself amongst the few who can. Skeptics need only look at the grandfather of seven’s resume to see for themselves.
Adams has worked fifty-five years in education, and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.
A graduate of Lincolnview High School, Adams enrolled at Eastern Michigan University on a Baseball Scholarship. With his heart set on earning a degree in accounting, he was promised a job upon graduation by S.E. Johnson Construction, a company for which his father had worked for many years.
Then he broke his leg.
Without his baseball scholarship, Adams struggled to keep up with tuition at Eastern Michigan.
“I ran out of money.” He recalled.
As a result, Adams transferred to the much closer to home Defiance College. Roughly halfway through his college career, though he’s not sure when, exactly, he decided he wanted to teach and coach at the high school level. Upon his graduation from Defiance in 1960, he quickly was given his first interview with a school district.
That district was the Edon Local School District.
“I still have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for Edon.” Adams admitted.
That’s understandable, given that he spent thirty-six years working at the school.
After being hired by Edon, Adams began his career in education as an instructor in business math, business english, and typing, among other subjects. He also served as the school’s head basketball and baseball coach, something he truly enjoyed.
“I love athletics and played sports all my life.”
That love of athletic competition drove the Van Wert native to take the Athletic Director position at Edon in 1963. He continued coaching until 1967, when he took the Bomber Baseball team to the state finals. Feeling as though there wasn’t much else he could do at Edon after that, he accepted Assitant Principal and Assistant Athletic Director openings at Ottawa Glandorf.
He resigned a week into the agreement.
“I had bought a home and everything.” Proclaimed Adams.
Not wanting to lose Adams, Edon had offered him their Principal’s position. He immediately accepted.
What drove him back to Edon?
“The community,” Adams said without hesitation, “you can’t beat it.”
Adams certainly never found another option that “beat” Edon. Two years into his reign as principal, in 1969, he took on the role of Superintendent. He held the position until 1996, when he retired from education.
Retirement did not go as planned, however.
“I did not like retirement at all, and went bonkers.” Reminisced Adams.
A year prior to retiring, Adams had purchased Lakers, a restaurant appropriately located on Hamilton Lake in Indiana. His plan was to occupy his time running the eatery. It didn’t work out that way, though.
“I quickly realized that wasn’t for me.”
Adams actually still owns the restaurant to this day, though his son, Jim Adams, runs the establishment’s day to day operations.
Not knowing what to do with himself, a new opportunity came to Adams three months into his retirement, in December of 1996. A school official for Tinora reached out to him, asking if he’d be interested in finishing out the school year as their Junior High School Principal. After a successful half-year on the job, the situation became a bit more permanent.
“The said, ‘Do you want to try another year?’ and that was nineteen years ago.” Adams remembered.
Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that he is still currently the Junior High School Principal at Tinora.
“I’ve been fortunate to work in only two school districts, both of which are rural.” Adams stated.
Citing the value system and work ethic of the rural lifestyle, Adams considers himself fortunate to work with children who grow up in such an environment, as well as the parents who raise them.
“I like to make (the parents) feel like the school belongs to them.” Confessed Adams. “I need them. They don’t need me.”
Adam’s seems to apply that sentiment to his students as well, rejoicing in their accomplishments. This holds particularly true after they’ve left the classroom, and advanced into a happy and successful adult life.
“Selfishly, I fell like I’m a part of it.” Adams said of his former students’ successes.
This applies to all students, as Adams doesn’t play favorites. Well, that may not be entirely accurate, actually.
“I kind of like the underdog.”
By that, Adams is referring to those students who make bad choices, and tend to get labeled as “bad kids.” Not only does Adams not see them as such, he takes a great amount of pride trying to develop them into productive citizens.
“That’s rewarding.” Adams confirmed.
The seventy-six year old Adams has seen teaching methods change a lot over his time as a teacher and administrator. Thanks in large part to modern technology, he feels as though schools do a better job today than they ever have before.
Quite an interesting viewpoint from someone who has been in education for fifty-five years.
Which leads to the question, how much longer does Adams plan on working?
Adams’ Grandfather, whom he affectionately refers to as “Grandad Adams,” would always pass a bit of sage wisdom onto him, which he now, in turn, passes on to anyone who asks him that very question.
“If you like what you do, you’l never work a day in your life.”
By that logic, Adams hasn’t worked in fifty-five years.