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Ryan Baron says goodbye to Tri-County Schools


As Ryan Baron prepared to start his final week as Tri-County Superintendent-Principal, he was asked to reflect on his time with Tri-County. What he came back to numerous time was the people.

“I will miss the staff (and) the students here like none other,” Baron said.

Working here— whether it be as a math teacher, substitute teacher, bus driver, or the superintendent/principal—he has gotten to know many of the Tri-County staff for the last 14 to 15 years.

June 30, 2021 will mark Baron’s final official day as Tri-County’s Superintendent-Principal. This comes after the Tri-County School Board approved Baron’s request to not enter into contract negotiations on October 21, 2020 and approved the contract of its new Superintendent-Principal Mike Gadbois on March 24, 2021.

Before Baron left Tri-County for the final time, he discussed what he has enjoyed most about his time here, his challenges on the job, future plans, what he is most proud of when it comes to Tri-County, and his final words to the school.

Before working as the Superintendent-Principal, Baron worked as a Tri-County Math teacher for nine years, teaching eighth to twelfth grade math, from Algebra 1 to College Calculus. In his last few years as a math teacher, he taught two different college courses.

For the past four years, he has worked as Tri-County’s Superintendent-Principal. He explained how working these dual roles proved “quite demanding,” with the Principal side proving to be more so. In this dual role, he has enjoyed working with Tri-County’s staff and students.

“Everyday when I go out and see them, it makes the job worthwhile,” Baron said. “I see the good things that the school has done (and) the good staff we have that care about these kids and put everything they have to teach these kids.”

He also pointed to the extra things the staff has done for its students, including making available a pantry/supply area for those students who may have bad shoes or don’t always have food.

“Another thing I really appreciate and have enjoyed,” Baron said, “is the fact that the staff is willing to go the extra mile to make sure the kids are taken care of.”

In his administrative role, he has also enjoyed making the school better and improving upon what has already been done. He mentioned the repaving project— a safety improvement— taking care of the school’s “dilapidated” telephones. He also mentioned how they were working on getting new scoreboards. He highlighted improved Wi-Fi, new lockers, and many other projects they’ve done over the years.

“The best part is they’re paid for. We got them taken care of financially and we have very little debt,” Baron said. “In fact, on any of those projects, we… (are) just making a few lease payments and then they’re done.”

On July 1, Baron will begin walking the halls of a new enviroment: Ulen-Hitterdal Public Schools. There, he will work as the school’s superintendent. He looks forward to the opportunities there and ways he can contribute.

“(I’m looking forward) to meet(ing) new people… see a different way… a school is run,” Baron said. “And (I’m) looking forward to learning what they do that makes their school great and looking at ways to make the school even better.”

Every board meeting, before the board addresses anything, Baron reads a list of items under the heading “We are Proud…,” highlighting the achievements and efforts of certain groups or people at Tri-County. Asked what he is proud of as he leaves Tri-County, Baron said he’s proud of leaving the school in a good place, from strong staff and completed projects to very little debt.

“I’m very proud of having done what I thought would make this place better, leaving it in a good financial situation,” Baron said. “… It leaves the next person a lot of opportunity to add to it even more things to make the place better. I’m proud to have served the people of Tri-County School District.”

What are his final words to the district as he leaves? He first thanked the families and people who have supported the school.

“We realize it’s been a hard year and a half. I mean it’s an unprecedented year that most people have never experienced,” Baron said, “at least not on this scale. And I’m very thankful to have worked with some very good families.”

He also thanked his committed staff, stepping up when needed, especially during COVID. It influenced them to take on extra roles and do things they don’t normally do, including at-home learning.

“I just want to thank those people that support the school and went out of their way… to help make the school a better place,” Baron said, “and to help support our mission: to educate our kids as best as possible.”

Right before the Tri-County School Board adjourned its June 23 meeting, Board Chairperson Holly Burkel relayed a message to Baron.

“We would like to thank Mr. Baron for the four years he has served as administrator for our school district,” Burkel said, “and we do wish him well with his future plans.”

To see the complete story, read the July 1 issue of the North Star News in print or online.

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