McALISTERVILLE - Tom Getz was planning to retire after this past school year from Juniata Mennonite School, but when the JMS board asked if he could stay on as the school's administrator, he knew in his heart what he must do.
Getz is staying for at least one more year.
The number one reason for the stay is to help with the school's ongoing accreditation process.
Accreditation, according to Goldley-Beacom College Vice-President Gary Wirt on the website for the Middle States Association for Colleges and Schools is, "a quality seal. It provides an independent and external affirmation that a school meets the rigorous standards set by educational peers."
JMS has been working for the past year to meet those standards under Getz's leadership.
"We have reached the credibility for accreditation," Getz said. "But we have not gone through completely to reach the status with Middle States Association for College and Schools which is the grandfather of all accreditation."
Accreditation shows the school is accountable on all academic levels and its future plans under 12 different criteria including health, safety, technology, governance of the school, communication with parents and more.
"The application is 59 pages," Getz said. "It is extensive and it is not just about writing a paragraph and sending it in."
Committees of staff, parents and board members work together on these criterion.
The input of these individuals has made the process run smoothly, he said.
But it will take time to completely finish it.
Board President Tim Varner sent out a letter to all JMS parents explaining the board's decision to ask Getz to remain on staff even though he finished out his three-year contract this spring.
Varner stated in the letter that the board held a special meeting June 5 to discuss school leadership and its future.
"Please be in prayer for him and the board," the letter read, "And please view this development as being the Lord's will, as we believe it is."
Getz also sent a letter after he announced his commitment to stay at the awards program on the last day of school.
He said he wanted the families to know that, "JMS is safe and sound."
Though Getz has been offered opportunities to serve at four other Christian schools including one in Maryland his commitment for now is to JMS.
Getz said during a phone interview this week the school is, "on a solid foundation and we're looking forward to the best school year yet."
All positions posted in the newspaper that have been vacated by retiring professionals have been filled. All other position openings will be filled before the end of this month.
"We have a very strong staff," Getz said.
According to Getz, he is humbled and honored to continue what he has begun at the school.
Varner stated, "Everyone agreed that Mr. Getz has gone above and beyond expectations the last several months."