By Travis Mounts
CLEARWATER – It will soon be time to say goodbye. Again.
Longtime educator and administrator Bob Mellen is stepping down as principal at Clearwater High School.
Mellen took his retirement four years ago, but like many Kansas educators stayed busy. He spent a year commuting to a position in Ponca City. The following year, he returned as CHS principal on an interim basis as the district’s bond project went into full speed. He stayed on two additional years.
What comes next is unknown, Mellen told TSnews.
“I don’t know what I’m going to,” he said.
Mellen has spent nearly his entire career at Clearwater schools. The Fredonia native started working in USD 264 during the 1987-88 school years. He spent 11 years as a middle school math teacher. He also coached. He became a full-time administrator in 1998, serving as assistant principal and activities director. Mellen eventually took on the role of principal, but kept his AD duties. He enjoyed being back.
“Even with COVID, it’s been a good year,” he said.
Mellen’s career started with a stint at Valley Falls, north of Topeka, and he was there from 1983 until 1987.
Living and working in Clearwater allowed him to be closer to home and to obtain his master’s degree. He and his wife, Sherys, raised three children in Clearwater. Two of their children became educators and one is a registered nurse.
“It’s been a great place to live and work and raise a family,” he said.
Mellen will carry many memories of his time in Clearwater schools. He noted the quality of people, and the support that schools receive from parents and the community.
“I think we’re known for supporting everything our kids do,” he said. The improvements the district has made to its facility over the years have kept the district competitive and given students the tools they need to succeed.
Each year, the graduating seniors make a point of showing their affection for Mellen in different ways. He has been covered in stickers and in photos of the students. One year, his birthday fell on graduation. Every graduate presented Mellen with a box of his favorite candy, Mike and Ike.
“I lived off those most of the summer. It’s all in good fun,” he said. “I always hold my breath because I never know what’s coming.”