EARLY — Brett Koch said he had hoped to end his career in the Early school district. That's not going to happen.

Koch submitted his resignation as the school district's superintendent Monday night to the school board, and the board voted 5-2 to accept. Koch will remain on the job through Jan. 31, and his employment will officially end one june 30. According to the settlement agreement Koch and board members signed Monday, Koch will receive a lump sum payment of $42,251 by Aug. 15, board President Shawn Russell said.

 Board members Gary Bowen and Chad Benton voted against accepting Koch's resignation.

"It was just time for a change," Koch said Tuesday.

He has been superintendent in Early since the 2004-'05 school year.

Koch said he had known "for a short period of time" that the "this was the direction it was going."

Neither Koch nor Russell directly indicated whether the board had asked for Koch's resignation.

It was a mutual decision between Koch and the board, Russell said. "It was time for a change," Russell said, adding that she has "the utmost respect" for Koch.  "Brett's a great guy. He's done a phenomenal job for the Early ISD. Sometimes there comes a time when change is inevitable."

The school board will meet soon to begin working on a plan to hire a new superintendent and will decide whether to hire an interim who would start Feb. 1 or to hire a permanent superintendent, Russell said.

Former board member Pat Mooney spoke at Monday night's school board member and indicated his support of Koch. "I didn't want it to go by without somebody saying something," Mooney said Tuesday. "I was there to support my friend."

Mooney told the board it was "a black day" for the district. "I know, from my own service, what has been accomplished," Mooney said. "I thought it was a very sad day for the district."

Mooney said he thought Koch had kept the district strong academically and financially.

Koch had only praise for the Early school district, the community and Brown County, noting that his wife teaches in the district and his son began his school career here. 

"It's an outstanding school district," Koch said. "I couldn't be more proud. I am thankful for the opportunity to have been superintendent here for nine-plus years. It's a great place to live. My family and I have been part of the community for 10 years.

"Was I wanting it to end this way? "I wanted my career to end in Early. I will have to come up with a plan. "Sometimes these things happen so quickly. You just have to work through them one step at a time. Brown County is a unique county. It has to be one of the best in the state. It holds a special place in our hearts. We do love it here.

"I'm going to serve this district today as hard as I ever have. That's not going to change."