Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dave Coopman Wondered Who Had the Fight Song First,
Plus Fight Song Trivia and Bruce Harter, MHS66


Moliner gets job Cubbage wanted Posted Online: June 25, 1997, 1:00 am

By Leon Lagerstam

Staff writer

A Moliner got the job as school superintendent in Fort Myers, Fla., after all.

Bruce Harter, 49, an administrator from Corvalis, Ore., was chosen from among five finalists for the superintendency of Lee County Schools in Fort Myers, as reported earlier this month.

One of the finalists for the job was Diana Cubbage, who resigned as Moline's superintendent in March.

Mr. Harter was born in Moline and grew up on 42nd Street and 20th Avenue. He graduated from Moline High School in 1966.

"Life is full of ironies and coincidences,'' he said in a telephone interview earlier this week from Oregon. "Unexpected things happen all the time. It's all about living in the world. For example, you never know when you might run into someone from your hometown or bump into someone you used to know.''

Mr. Harter and Ms. Cubbage met briefly at a school board meeting in Florida during the hiring process.

"I threatened to sing the Moline Fight Song to her,'' he said. "She thought it was pretty funny because of how ironic it was we were both in the running.'' What would have been more ironic is if Mr. Harter would have replaced Ms. Cubbage as the Moline superintendent, according to Kathleen Trevor, who graduated from Moline with Mr. Harter and organizes the class reunions he has been unable to attend.

"Bruce would have been a real asset,'' Ms. Trevor said Tuesday. "It's really our loss.''

His success doesn't surprise her a bit, she said. "Bruce's personality was always charming and outgoing. He was the kind of person who made you feel real comfortable. He always involved himself in things and he treated everyone equally.'' After graduating from Moline, Mr. Harter attended Gustavus Adolphus College and later the University of Michigan. He remembers Moline as a wonderful place to grow up and said the education he received prepared him well. "However, the only work I could find was painting fire hydrants for the public works department in the summer of 1970,'' he said.

Instead, he became a teacher for an inner city school in Detroit. "I soon found out I was in over my head and took a year or so off and worked in hospitals,'' Mr. Harter said.

He returned to education in Michigan, where he taught, coached football and wrestling, and eventually moved into administration. His career in education has taken him to Iowa, Colorado, California and Oregon. Florida is next.

He said he may have considered applying for the Moline superintendent position if the timing had been different.

When Ms. Cubbage was hired about three years ago, Mr. Harter had been in Corvalis only a couple years and did not think the timing was right. It might be hard to be superintendent in your hometown, but it would have been fun, he said.

Instead, he will start his job in Fort Myers July 21. He was given a three-year contract with an annual salary of $100,000. He will oversee 51,000 students attending 67 schools in the Lee County district.

Mr. Harter is married to Lee Anna Hedges, whom he met in California. They have three kids, Dan, 20, Susie, 16, and Kyla, 8. Although his parents moved from the Quad-Cities to Arizona several years ago, he still has many cousins, aunts, uncles and friends in the Quad-Cities.

He said he's noticed wherever he's gone that young people always complain about having nothing to do. "And nobody seems to want to be around their hometown, until they realize the importance of the foundation it provides.''