Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas is ready to get back to work.
The Mansfield school district superintendent was not scheduled to return from medical leave until mid-August, but surgery on his recurrent thymoma tumor went better than expected, so Vaszauskas will be back on the job June 16.
“There were very clear margins and no evidence of spreading or breach,” said Vaszauskas, 58. “The surgeon said ‘Unless there’s something I didn’t see, I got it all.’”
Vaszauskas, who had surgery April 21 at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was scheduled for six weeks of recovery, followed by 33 days of radiation.
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“The radiation oncologist said there was no need to do radiation at this point,” Vaszauskas said. “The regular oncologist and surgeon agreed.”
Vaszauskas had surgery for the same type of tumor in December 2013, but it “came back because it didn’t have clear margins on the first surgery,” he said. “That’s why they always felt it would come back. One of the keys to this type of cancer is to totally remove it.”
The tumor was smaller this time, about the size of a quarter compared to the ping pong ball-size tumor that was previously removed from behind his sternum.
Vaszauskas plans to hit the ground running, working with the school board to fill the open trustee seat left by Danny Baas’ resignation in April, hiring for open staff positions, analyzing new Texas laws that affect education and working on the district’s annual budget. He and his wife also purchased a home in South Arlington in the Mansfield school district and will be moving in the next six weeks, he said.
“I feel really good, and I’m bored out of my mind,” Vaszauskas said. “I’m very ready to come back to work. I missed it. It’s a crazy job sometimes, but I love it.”
Mark Jackson, who was hired as interim superintendent in April 15, will leave the post June 15.
“I knew this was going to be until Dr. V’s return,” said Jackson, 63. “I’m very grateful his recovery was so successful.”
Vaszauskas said he was sorry to miss graduation, which is one of his favorite things about being superintendent, but “sometimes the kids get pretty excited and give me bear hugs and pick me up,” which he was afraid could be a problem so soon after having surgery.
Vaszauskas was hired as the Mansfield school district associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction in May 2009. He was named acting superintendent Feb. 5, 2013, after Superintendent Bob Morrison left the post for the Garland superintendent job. Vaszauskas was named superintendent July 23, 2013.
-- This story contains information from News-Mirror archives.