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Eugene E. Hale, superintendent of the Depew School District for the past six years, announced today that he is retiring as of Jan. 15.

"I've had some health problems and felt it was time," Hale, 60, said.

He has a contract through 2000, but the Board of Education was aware of his health problems and had some inklings he might not complete his term, Hale said.

"My retirement from public service will bring a much needed respite, more time with my family and a restoration of my health," Hale said in his resignation letter, delivered to board members Wednesday.

The board, which meets tonight, has various options on filling the post, and Hale said he will be available after Jan. 15 for consultations. The district has about 2,600 pupils.

"The district is in good shape, and I don't think there will be a problem," he said.

He said he has been involved with the school district practically his whole life, first as a student and since 1970 as a staff member.

His first job was band director and in 1980, he was named principal of Cayuga Heights Elementary School. He was appointed superintendent in 1991.

"Perhaps few of us have watched our district grow from its humble beginnings housed in just one building to now providing a top-rate education for our children," Hale said in his letter.

"As band director, I shared the triumphs of our fledging marching band as they added trophy after trophy to our hallowed halls. As principal, I witnessed our district take new shape and retool, meeting the demands of a changing society.

"Now, 55 years later, I am proud to be graduating."

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