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Getting back to her small town roots: Lori Zick begins new role as Tri-County Assistant Principal


Lori Zick began on as the new Tri-County Assistant Principal to start this 2021-22 school year. The Barnesville, Minn., native brings with her 23 years of teaching experience in special education, including 21 years in Detroit Lakes, Minn. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

When Lori Zick found out she had earned the Assistant Principal position at Tri-County, she was shocked, coming from teaching in a bigger city in Detroit Lakes to a smaller town. That doesn’t mean she’s not familiar with small towns.

“I grew up in a small town,” Zick said, “so I like the small town atmosphere.”

As a Barnesville High School graduate, she graduated with about 45 students— a little larger than the size of Tri-County classes.

“I just enjoyed the small town. DL (Detroit Lakes) was very good to me. I mean I learned a lot of things,” Zick said, “but looking into administration… I knew I wanted to get into a smaller atmosphere, a smaller town. That’s kind of what my goal was when I went into administration is to get into a smaller community.”

Zick talked about the experience she brings to Tri-County, how she perceives her new role and what her duties are, what she’s looking forward to most about working at Tri-County, what people can expect from her, and a little bit about her life outside the work.

Before beginning her career in education, Zick earned her education degree at Bemidji State University. Four years ago, she earned her administration degree between Bemidji State and Minnesota State University Moorhead.

As for experience on the job, Zick taught two years as a special education teacher in Waubun, Minn., and then, beginning in 2000, taught 21 years as a special education teacher in Detroit Lakes, Minn., before coming to Tri-County.

In Detroit Lakes, she worked with academic and behavior interventions for students. She also has coaching experience in both volleyball and cheerleading, more so with the latter.

Asked why she wanted to start her administrative career in a smaller community, Zick pointed to relationships.

“I think you can just build more relationships with the kids and with the staff,” Zick said.

As for her role specifically, she views it as one where she is helping the teachers as much she can to provide a better learning environment for their students.

“This community is awesome. The teachers here are really awesome to work with,” Zick said. “But coming from a bigger city, I can kind of bring in some new things, some new ideas… helping the kids, helping the teachers as much as I can (to) bring in some new, fresh ideas.”

This applies to helping bring different styles of learning into the classroom.

“Students are starting to learn… in different ways. What are some things we can do in our classrooms to help all students with the different learning styles that is out there right now,” Zick asked. “And, especially with the COVID, a lot of kids lost a lot of education and a lot of skills, and how can we help? How can I help the kids and the teachers kind of gain some of those things back?”

She mentioned how she supports flexible seating— something she would like to bring a little bit to Tri-County— for example, taking the legs of desks and allowing students to sit on pillows on the floor

“I’d like to bring that in here, because I think that that would help some students,” Zick said, “and it makes learning a little bit more fun. Hey, it’s not a regular classroom. Let’s jazz it up a little bit.”

Now that she is back in a small community, what can the Tri-County community expect from her? They can expect communication and involvement.

“If your kids are doing well in school, if they’re having struggles, I’m a big communicator. I love to communicate with parents on the good and the bad things that are going on in our school, or with the student,” Zick said. “So open communication, I’m huge for (and) being involved in the community. My sixth grader (daughter) is with me and so we are going to be going to sporting events and being a part of the community.”

To see the complete story, read the September 23 issue of the North Star News in print or online.

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