Ex-Mehlville superintendent finds employment at DESE

By Mike Anthony

Where does a former superintendent go to work after he “retires” from one school district and resigns from another one?

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, of course.

At least that’s where Tim Ricker now is working, according to DESE.

Ricker “retired” as superintendent of the Mehlville School District in 2006 and resigned as superintendent of the Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A in Lemont, Ill., last December.

He now works for DESE as area supervisor, St. Louis Region, effective March 12, with an annual salary of $54,288.

Perhaps the folks at DESE didn’t bother to perform a Google search on Ricker, as that alone would have provided enough reasons why he should not have been hired in any capacity.

Just a quick search would have revealed that Ricker, who originally planned to retire at the end of the current school year as the Lemont superintendent, resigned in December — just days after informing board members the school district owed a state agency more than $300,000.

A Google search also would have disclosed this tidbit from a Dec. 24 editorial in the Lemont Reporter/Met regarding his resignation: “… This is a very good move for District 113A, as we have previously called for Ricker to be removed as superintendent immediately. His demonstrated incompetence resulted in an erosion of confidence in the district on the part of residents, and he was a lightning rod of public criticism.”

As readers of this column are well aware, we believe history will judge Ricker to be one of the worst — if not the worst — superintendent in the history of the Mehlville School District.

Perhaps the folks at DESE were fully aware of Ricker’s abysmal track record and elected to hire him anyway — anything for a fellow “educator.”

After Ricker resigned as the superintendent in Lemont, we wrote: “We can only hope that Ricker’s career in education has come to a close once and for all so no community is ever subjected to what the Mehlville School District and the Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District have had to endure.”

Ricker’s hiring by DESE is a disservice to our hard-working local educators and a slap in the face to taxpayers who are footing the bill. And some wonder why public education suffers from a serious perception problem.