Superintendent Chris Richardson is looking forward to the simple joys of retirement -- like sleeping in instead of getting up at 4 a.m. on cold, snowy mornings to decide whether school will be cancelled for kids in the Northfield district.

Richardson, 67, has announced he will retire June 30 after 12 years leading the district and 35 years as a superintendent.

"I'm just at the point where I believe I need to take a look at a different level of involvement in education," he said.

In a resignation letter to the school board, Richardson wrote he was pleased to have spearheaded many district programs, including professional learning communities for teachers, Response to Intervention (RTI) for students struggling academically and Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS), a schoolwide initiative that emphasizes creating a positive school climate.

He mentioned his role in expanding the use of data in measuring student growth and staff development efforts and bringing the district out of debt and back to a financially stable position.

The district hasn't had to make cuts in several years, he said.

"It's kind of a good time to go because I think I'm leaving the district in a really good position," he said.

The Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) awarded Richardson the MASA Polaris Leadership Award in 2015 for lifetime achievement and named him the Minnesota Superintendent of the Year in 2012.

"What I've appreciated with Northfield is they have always had this great ethic about the importance of education, and it's made it a place where I wanted to stay," he said.

The school board has formed a committee to develop a process to find a new superintendent. That group will share its report at the March 14 school board meeting.