KALAMAZOO, MI — Longtime Kalamazoo Public Schools administrator Gary Start will retire at the end of the school year.

Start, 64, former interim superintendent and longtime deputy superintendent of business and finance, will retire in June 2021, Board of Education President Patti Sholler-Barber said during a virtual meeting Thursday, Dec. 17.

“This has been an amazing career,” Start said in a message to MLive. “I firmly believe that Kalamazoo Public School offers outstanding opportunities to all of our students, and I am extremely proud of what our staff — throughout the district — provide to our students.”

Start had a “long and distinguished” career at KPS that began in 1983, Superintendent Rita Raichoudhuri said.

At KPS, Start oversaw the district’s budget and helped pass eight school bonds at KPS, the superintendent said.

“I don’t know what I would have done without Gary’s sage advice over these last six months,” Raichoudhuri said. “Gary will always be a part of the KPS family.”

Start was named interim superintendent in June 2019 after Michael Rice left the district for the state superintendency. Start returned to his job as deputy superintendent in June 2020 when Raichoudhuri took the reins at the district.

During his time as interim superintendent, Start led the district through the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting financial consequences.

“I am comforted to know that all four of my grandchildren are students in KPS,” Start said. “I love this district and this community and look forward to giving back in new and different ways. It is particularly important to me to provide increased opportunities to our highest needs students.”

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