by Amy Haggerty
This summer, the Stockbridge Community School District will be bidding farewell to long-time employee and chief decision maker—Karl Heidrich. Since 2012, Heidrich has served as the district’s superintendent, managing the business of the community’s three schools and, most importantly, ensuring a quality education for 1300 students each year, ranging from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Since he was hired by Stockbridge 21 years ago, Heidrich has used his exceptional skills to benefit the school District. He began in 1999 as assistant principal/athletic director at Stockbridge High School, and one year later he transitioned to principal of the school, where he worked until filling the role of superintendent. Heidrich also coached football, taking him back to a favorite pastime of his high school and college days. As superintendent, he has been busy with overseeing day-to-day operations, including multiple construction projects that are taking place throughout the district. While he will be remembered for numerous accomplishments, Heidrich is credited with playing a key role in helping to positively influence bond passage for improving the technology in all three school buildings.
Heidrich grew up in Findlay, Ohio, where he was raised under the guidance of his parents, Conrad and Eunice Heidrich. He credits his father as one of his greatest influences in life. Conrad Heidrich was an elementary principal who guided his son’s decision to pursue an educational leadership career. The younger Heidrich also credits high school biology teacher Tom Reynolds, for encouraging him to enter the teaching profession.
After high school, Heidrich attended Hillsdale College in Michigan and played as an offensive guard on that school’s football team. After graduating from Hillsdale, he accepted a job teaching biology and serving as athletic director for Deerfield Public Schools. That’s where he met his wife, Bridget. They married in 1999 and have three children. Baylee, their oldest daughter, is 18 and a senior; Kylin is 15 and in tenth grade; and their youngest, Kolton, is 13 and in eighth grade. All three children attend Stockbridge Community Schools.
In between working and raising a family, Heidrich earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Toledo, a specialist’s degree in educational leadership at Siena Heights University, and most recently, a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University.
He chose to come to Stockbridge Community Schools after working on his degree at the University of Toledo. In his own words, he has found the staff in Stockbridge to be “amazing!” According to Heidrich, “The staff is wonderful and so supportive of all students in the district. Every one of them is dedicated to their roles and professions.”
One doesn’t spend more than twenty years in a district without forming special bonds with the staff. High school teacher Corey Baird described what it’s like working with Heidrich, “He trusts our teachers on curriculum matters, values our expertise in our fields, and treats us as equals. His office is always open, and he is very supportive to his staff professionally and personally.”
When asked about his greatest accomplishments, Heidrich says he is most proud of the part he has played in raising their three children. He is also extremely proud to “see the success of our students in the district as they grow up through the grade levels well prepared for postsecondary endeavors.” His advice for Stockbridge students: “It is important to never stop learning and to continue to grow and aspire. Take advantage of learning in every capacity that you can!”
On July 1, 2020 Heidrich will be retiring and moving on to new adventures. In looking back on his long tenure with Stockbridge Community Schools, Heidrich wishes to thank the community, parents, staff, and students for their support over the past 21 years. He is going to be greatly missed and hard to replace.
Editor’s Note: A search for a new superintendent is in the works. The school board is hoping to have a new superintendent in place this summer to prepare for the 2020-21 school year.