Willard and Freida Busdeker welcomed their first child, son Larry, in 1948, bringing him home to the family farm near Pemberville, Ohio. He would be joined by sister Debbie two years later. Willard worked hard, both as a farmer, raising grain crops, and working full-time in a local factory. Freida, made the choice to be a “stay-at-home” mom, focusing on raising her children, managing a marvelous garden, and in Larry’s words, being “an incredible cook”.Larry graduated from Eastwood High School in 1966. Thanks to the mentoring Larry received from great teachers, such as Mr. Zimmerman in Social Studies and Miss Rolfes, who taught mathematics, he was determined to attend college, become an educator, and spend his life helping young people.Larry attended Bowling Green State University, graduating in four years with a degree in American Studies, with an emphasis on History and writing. 1970 was a memorable year, in addition to graduating, he married his sweetheart Janelle and set up home in Findlay. Larry, now “Mr. Busdeker” began his career in education that same year at Central Junior High, teaching 8th grade American History, along with 9th grade Civics, (American Government).Larry had always envisioned becoming a principal, where he could help a larger number students than just those in his classroom. The next five years were busy as he taught during the day, driving to BGSU in the evenings, to earn his Master’s degree in Education Administration. Shortly after completing his Masters, the vice principal at Central took leave, and Larry was asked to fill in for the remaining half of the school year.This experience opened opportunities the following year, as both the Findlay School District and Liberty Benton High School sought to hire Larry as a principal. At the young age of 28, Larry accepted the Liberty Benton offer becoming “Principal Busdeker” over grades 7-12 in 1976. In 1979, Larry was asked to return to his high school alma mater, Eastwood High, as principal over grades 9-12, renewing his relationship with four of his previous teachers, including Miss Rolfes! This was a very trying time for Larry, Janelle, (an English/Speech-Debate teacher at Findlay High School), and their two young children, Lindsey and Lance! Besides fulfilling his daily principal obligations, Larry enrolled at the University of Toledo to complete a “Specialist” degree in Administration. This meant leaving Eastwood at 4:30 p.m., commuting to UT for classes from 5:45-7:00, then racing back to Eastwood to oversee evening sporting events. Larry credits Janelle with being the force that kept things together for their family during those two years. A Specialist degree prepared and qualified Larry to assume the responsibilities of a school district superintendent. His first stent overseeing a district began in 1982 with the Arcadia School District. “I was responsible overseeing and managing all school personnel, the school levy, business issues, food services, all building systems and working closely with the school board.”Larry chose to expand his administrative experiences when in 1986 he accepted the superintendent position with the Otsego School District. He moved from a one building district to one with three elementary, one middle-school and a high school building. The number of students he was now responsible for increased from 600 to almost 1800. This would be home for Superintendent Busdeker for the next decade.In 1996 Larry made the final change in his superintendent career, when he accepted the position of Superintendent of the Hancock County Educational Service Center. The Service Center works with eight rural county school districts providing professional development courses for teachers, assisting in creating school curriculums, recognizing, and enhancing commonalities between districts and providing staff to do school districts assessments. In Superintendent Busdeker’s opinion, the key service the Center provides, with support from the Ohio Department of Education, is support and resources for the “special needs” students and their educators countywide. The center provides training for teachers and parents, assessment/testing for students in grades preschool through high school and creating IEP (Individual Education Plans) personalized for each student’s needs.This is Larry’s 25th year as County Superintendent with four years left on his current contract. Listening to Larry’s stories and watching his face light up, these past 25 years serving the teachers and students of Hancock County have been a dream come true.In November Larry and Janelle will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary! Although Covid has greatly reduced the size of the event, they will be surrounded by their two wonderful children and five beautiful grandchildren. His advice to couples is to be “tolerant of each other’s differences, be flexible, but most of all, always be respectful and loving to your companion.”Janelle retired after 30 years in the classroom and the couple love to travel, having been to 49 states so far. Their favorite escape, for the past 40 plus years, is to Emerald Island in North Carolina. To show his deep love for and appreciation to Janelle for all her years of love and support to him, Larry was able to find an exact duplicate of the car Janelle drove in high school, a beautifully restored 1966 Ford Mustang, black with a white ragtop. It was an early birthday present. Larry acknowledges he has been blessed to have such a great family and to have spent his entire career doing what he loves, serving and helping children.
34334380 Comments12 SharesLikeCommentShare