Viscounte steps down this week as United Local superintendent

HANOVERTON — United Local Superintendent Steve Viscounte steps down this week, wrapping up 32 years in education.

“It’s time after 32 years to give the reins to someone else,” Viscounte said.

Those reins will be handed over to former Columbiana High School Principal Lance Hostetler, but Viscounte has a final message for those paying attention — there are good people everywhere you go.

Starting as a high school teacher at Marlington, teaching accounting/business and health while coaching track and football, Viscounte spent seven years as teacher before entering the administration as dean of students then assistant principal at the high school. He also spent a few years as a floating administrator in the district with the ultimate goal of becoming a superintendent.

He achieved that goal at United Local five years ago.

Having seen education from every angle — teaching, coaching, administrating — Viscounte said he has found that despite the difference of each position, good people are making an impact on students every day.

“In teaching, you’re making an impact in the classroom; in administration, you’re making an impact district wide,” he said. “But wherever you’re at, there are good people. With my many educational experiences, I have found that there are good people everywhere and I will miss the many friendships that I have developed over the years.”

Viscounte said working with staff and developing relationships with people at different levels is something he will miss, particularly because educators seem to get a bad name.

“Education gets bashed in the media, but they’re good people who want to do what is best for the kids,” he said.

“There’s state mandated requirements that guide classroom curriculum, but the impact with the kids is the biggest thing, greater than anything else we do. We’re making sure they’re good people when they leave school.”

Even though he is retiring from education, Viscounte said he still hopes to keep a hand in developing in youth.

“I’ve always loved coaching kids,” he said. “The biggest impact on a student is as a teacher or coach because of the day-to-day relationships.

“My greatest reward in education is making a positive difference in young people and having them come back as adults and share their memories from the classroom and on the field. You really don’t know the impact that you have on students until they share that with you later.”

Making a difference in students’ lives is not an easy path in life, though, Viscounte said.

“I would like to leave young people and colleagues with this, ‘Don’t be afraid to take a chance for advancement even though it may make you feel uncomfortable to make a move. Having a good attitude and work ethic will enable you to be successful,'” he said.

“The most important thing that I would like to leave people is that your family is the most important thing to cherish. In the grand scheme of life, jobs and people come and go but your family will always be there for you. Enjoy your time with them and don’t sweat the small stuff.”