JILL DAVIDSON SKLAR STAFF WRITER
PHOTO BY GLENN TRIEST
Dr. Seymour Gretchko
is pleased with his
names a school
in honor of
cc JILL DAVIDSON SKLAR
r. Seymour Gretchko didn't have to retire to earn
one of the highest tributes that can be paid to an
In fact, he was planning to sign a three-year ex-
tension of his contract when the board of the West
Bloomfield School District decided to name a school
"I am deeply honored that the board and the com-
munity would name a school after me while I am
still working," Dr. Gretchko said.
The Seymour Gretchko Elementary School, on
Greer Road, will be completed this summer. The
school will serve first-grade and kindergarten class-
es that were formerly housed in Scotch Elementary
The suggestion for the name of the school came from a
three-person, board-appointed committee. The board unan-
imously approved the suggestion and announced it in April.
"I was very surprised," Dr. Gretchko said. "I have got-
ten a lot of (congratulatory) telephone calls:"
The man who once dreamed of becoming a relief pitch-
er for the New York Giants began his teaching career with
the Detroit Public Schools in 1952. He slowly rose through
the ranks, ending a 30-year career there as regional su-
He was hired in 1983 as superintendent for public schools
in West Bloomfield.
His career there has been marked by strong public sup-
port for his programs, the introduction of educational tech-
nology and good relationships with parents and the unions.
"He has been a wonderful leader and is well-deserving
of this honor," Assistant Superintendent Polly Friend said.
Jeff Stewart, a board member, said that because the dis-
trict has no future plans to construct another building, the
board decided to name the building for the person who
would be most deserving at this time.
"We thought it would be better that we should bend pro-
tocol a little bit and give the man an accolade that he de-
serves now rather than putting his name on a tool shed or
a greenhouse later," Mr. Stewart said.
The school will be
completed this summer.
"It is a little unusual," Mr. Stewart said, adding that
some districts have problems over which superintendents
leave in a dispute. "But the chances of having any prob-
lems with a resignation are slim to none."
Dr. Gretchko said he is motivated to continue in his job
because he feels he contributes something important to
the fabric of American society.
"I think public schools in America have a public purpose
in educating children to be good, productive citizens," he
said. "That is a significant function."
As one of only a few Jewish superintendents in Michi-
gan, he is also gratified that public education has been ad- r--/
vantageous to Jews.
"I am happy to be a part of something that has histori-
cally benefited Jews," he said. 0