Mike Ronen will be replacing retiring Norm Wilks, director of USD 409 fiscal services.

Mike Ronen will be joining the El Dorado USD 490 School District in July as the new assistant superintendent.

The USD 490 Board of Education approved the hiring of Ronen, replacing Norm Wilks, director of fiscal services, who is retiring, at their last meeting.

“I have always liked the medium-sized districts,” Ronen said, “the 3A-4A school districts, so that was attractive to me.”

He also is a Central Kansas native and all of his family still ives in Central Kansas so that was an added bonus.

“If I were to look, that is the type of district I would be looking for,” he said. “On top of that, with my current job I am an educational consultant. Over the last two years I have worked with the El Dorado administrative team several times and one time with the entire staff training on different topic areas. I have always walked out of there feeling like it was a solid team and a focused team.”

Ronen is currently the CFO of the SW Plains Regional Educational Service Center, a position he has held since June 2011.

“We’re a company that trains teachers, administrators, boards and provides educational services to districts all over Kansas,” he said.

Ronen said when he saw the job opening, he remembered how impressed he was with the district and said to himself, “Why don’t I apply?”

He also liked that it is a finance job.

“It’s what I did for 25 years,” he said of being in the education field. “I was a teacher and coach and principal.”

That career includes teaching business, computers and coaching at Natoma High School/Liberal High School from 1981 to 1993; serving as principal at Greensburg High School from 1993 to 1995; working as a program coordinator and instructor at Hutchinson Community College from 1995 to 2007; and then moving out of education to work as vice president of operations at First Choice Credit Union from 2007 to 2011.

Then he made the move to being a CFO for an educational service agency. With that move, he is in schools 200 days a year, just not all in one school.

“I’m looking forward to putting my efforts into one district,” he said.

He also will be bringing a lot of experience with him.

“There’s not a lot I haven’t seen,” he said of his experience with his current job. “You see a wide variety of different teaching methods and teaching teams and the way districts are set up.”

Ronen will be starting with the district on July 1, which will give him some time to work with Wilks before he retires.

“Norm has been there so long and is so well respected in the state,” Ronen said, “those are big shoes to fill. Being able to spend whatever time a Get to with him, that is a big deal to me.”

Ronen received his bachelor’s degree in business education from Kansas State University, his master’s degree in educational administration from Fort Hays State University and completed district leadership coursework at Friends University.

He is looking forward to coming to El Dorado.

“My wife, Lisa, and I are excited to become part of the school district and part of the community,” he said. “It’s something we’ve wanted for quite a long time and we’re excited.”

Ronen and his wife have two grown children. Their daughter, Mandy Ronen, is assistant director of admissions at Wichita State University and their youngest daughter, Becki Ronen Walenz is an adjunct music instructor at K-State. Her husband is a captain in the Army.

Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.