Portage bids adieu to superintendent
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent May 28, 2014 11:22PM
Portage Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Ric Frataccia shows off a giant sized bat that former White Sox player Ron Kittle personally made and signed for Frataccia at Hoosier Bat Co. in Valparaiso. The Portage Community Schools District had a going away party for Frataccia on Wednesday. | James D. Wolf Jr.~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 30, 2014 12:56PM
PORTAGE -- The Portage Community Schools community said goodbye Wednesday to its superintendent, who is taking the reins at Valparaiso.
The east commons at Portage High School was filled with teachers, community members and former students wishing Ric Frataccia the best.
“Doc Frataccia made a huge impact on me when I was a student,” said Collin Czilli, who was president of the Class of 2013. “I learned how to be a leader.”
Frataccia always was available when the newspaper, student radio station or student television station needed him for an interview, and Czilli also served with him on the district’s alternate energy committee.
Czilli noted that Frataccia helped change Portage from what Czilli called a mediocre school into one that has an “A” rating from the state.
Frataccia said he doesn’t spend more than 10 years in a district because districts need new vision. He served eight years in Portage as Associate Superintendent under Mike Berta before being Berta retired.
He’ll now replace Berta as superintendent again in Valparaiso. Berta came to the goodbye party.
“It’s a pleasure to come back and celebrate what he’s accomplished,” Berta said.
The party had colorful banners from the schools, a student band playing and an oversized bat that former Cubs player Ron Kittle made at Hoosier Bat Company, signing it and presenting it to Frataccia on Tuesday.
Frataccia’s secretary, Cindy Laingren, asked family friend Kittle to make the bat.
Teacher and Valparaiso native Al Zahn, who will retire this year, said he wanted attended because Frataccia “is a teaching superintendent” who supports education.
“He fought for us downstate,” said Zahn, referring to Frataccia’s role on the committee reviewing the state’s school grading system.
Teacher Susan Hale said Frataccia always encouraged staff and students to try something new rather than be happy with the status quo.
Frataccia said he was proud of the staff and students, of their pride in achievement and of the district’s financial security.
“They really worked hard, and we’re not where we want to be, but we’re a lot closer,” he said.
He also emphasized the “we” of his term.
“We do it together. It’s not just me,” he said.