Amphitheater Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Nelson will retire at the end of the school year.

Nelson, 69, who has been an educator for more than four decades, has served as Amphi’s superintendent since 2012.

“It’s been an absolutely incredible and amazing experience,” he said of his time as superintendent. “I loved every minute of it.”

During his tenure, the district strengthened its professional-development program, all of its schools were accredited by a national nonprofit and moved to build a science, technology, engineering and math-focused elementary school.

Nelson said all of those accomplishments were a reflection of the Amphitheater team. As superintendent, he said he tried to think into the future and position the district to be a premier school district in the long run.

He was first hired by the district in 2001 as its executive director of curriculum, instruction and professional development and moved on to serving as an associate superintendent for 10 years.

He said he is retiring while things are going well.

“I want to leave things for the next person working as well as possible,” he said.

The Amphitheater district, which serves about 14,000 students, will search for a new superintendent starting this month.

Nelson said while choosing a new superintendent is up to the community and the board, he hopes his replacement would have high academic standards and knows how to build relationships.

Todd Jaeger, former general counsel for the district who now works for the Tucson Unified School District, said he worked with Nelson for about 16 years. Nelson had a strong focus in professional development throughout his tenure and worked hard to support everyone in the district, Jaeger said.

“He’s one of those people who wants everyone to succeed for the greater good,” Jaeger said.

Nelson will be leaving behind big shoes to fill, he said. “But I’m confident that they will find a well-qualified candidate who will wear their own shoes.”

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