"It's time for me to shift gears, so to speak, before we become empty-nesters." He said that his oldest child is getting married this summer and that his youngest will be off to the University of Scranton.
He said he had no specific retirement plans but might teach college. Or, he said, he could write a book, maybe a text on being a superintendent or one on his moonlighting experiences as a younger man, working at the Electric Factory and meeting the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Jerry Garcia.
Upper Darby is "a phenomenal school district," he said. Still, the recent years have been tough, with deficits that required program cuts and hard choices.
"It's very taxing," DeVlieger said. "As a superintendent, you always want to enhance, not diminish, opportunities for children."
In deciding to retire, he said, he thought of his father, who, at his age, after having raised 10 children and running his own business, had to stop working because of declining health. He said that his grandfather and great-grandfather died young, at 56. DeVlieger said he goes to a gym daily.
He said he was confronting another challenging budget season, with a projected $9.4 million deficit. He added that he remained passionate about education and was optimistic about what is ahead.
"I've got this little window this summer to enjoy [his family], and then I'm wide open to opportunity," he said.
He said he was leaving at a good time.
"I would rather step down with people saying, 'I wish he was staying,' rather than, 'Why the hell doesn't he leave?' " DeVlieger said.
Contact Rita Giordano at 610-313-8232, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ritagiordano.