Gene Amberg, Joplin R-8 superintendent in the early 1990s, has announced he will retire in June 2007 from his position as superintendent of the Urbana, Ill., School District.
In an interview with the Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette, Amberg talked about his decision to leave Joplin:
"Joplin was very homogenous," he said. "Only about 2 percent of the students were students of color. I wanted more for my children. There's a lot of urban diversity in Urbana, but that meant some adjustments for me and for the children."
The Amberg children ranged in age from 7 to 17 at the time. Amberg said his third son, Paul, was in eighth grade then, and he had the hardest adjustment. "He was used to life in a middle school with 400 children," he said. "There are 1,000 children of all stripes at Urbana Middle School. He cried himself to sleep at night. There was no one to sit with him in the cafeteria."