BRUNSWICK — Jim Hayas attended Brunswick City Schools, worked as an English teacher at Brunswick High and served as assistant principal and principal there before being named superintendent of the district.
To honor his years with Brunswick, the school board voted Friday afternoon to name the Performing Arts Center at the high school after him.
The vote came during a “special meeting” as part of a tribute to Hayas, who was seen dabbing tears from his eyes after the announcement.
Following the vote, Hayas went outside, pulled a rope, and a temporary sign for the James J. Hayas Performing Arts Center unfurled.
Hayas became superintendent in 1994 and “retired” in 2006 before being immediately re-hired at an annual salary of $25,000, a $75,000 decrease. He retired for good in July. “I’ve been very fortunate,” he said in a short speech after the announcement. “Years ago, people used to look down at Brunswick, and some still do. I believe this is a good community.”
During a video presentation that included interviews with family members, administrators and classmates, former high school principal Russ Huston, who hired Hayas as a teacher and football coach, said he remembers being a little surprised at first that Hayas taught English.
“A coach who’s an English teacher?” Huston said. “Most of them taught social studies or health.”
After the presentation, Huston said hiring Hayas first as a teacher and then as assistant principal were the best things he ever did as principal.
Several teachers and administrators interviewed on the video said they admired Hayas’ ability to listen to their points of view and to allow them to disagree with him without him getting angry.
Chuck Hawley, who also served as principal of Brunswick High, said on the video that Hayas’ decision to work for $25,000 showed how dedicated he was to the district.
Hayas’ daughters, Kim Hayas-Yedlick and Amy Nutter, said on the video they enjoyed growing up with a father “people say bleeds blue,” a reference to the Brunswick Blue Devils.
Since his retirement in July, Hayas said he spends most of his time on his boat on Lake Erie and only comes home to cut the grass.
Contact Allison Wood at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.