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Tri-County hires Ron Ruud for superintendent position


“I can’t leave the district the way it is. I put too much time into it,” Ron Ruud said while answering questions from the Tri-County School Board at its October 20 meeting.
Not long after this comment, the Tri-County School approved Ruud— the long-time former Tri-County Superintendent— as the district’s acting/interim superintendent for the remainder of the 2022 school year. He returns to the district after six years away from it.

This board decision follows a September 25 incident on Tri-County School grounds that eventually led to Tri-County’s current Superintendent-Principal Michael Gadbois facing three misdemeanor charges: second-degree DWI, open bottle, and possessing alcohol on school grounds, according to

The Tri-County School Board in a statement following this incident released how Gadbois had been placed on paid suspension related to the allegations against him, effective September 28, 2021. At this October meeting, Board Chairperson Holly Burkel provided an update.

“The school district’s investigation into the complaints regarding the current superintendent (Gadbois) is still continuing,” Burkel said.

As for Ruud, a Canadian-American, he has been an educator for 36 years, all but one at Tri-County. This included time as a social studies, computer science, and physical education teacher, among other things. Ruud had went back to school to earn his principalship and then worked as a principal for eight years.

Then one day someone approached him about being the superintendent. He was glad he pursued this position.

“I’ve made three moves, like people would make three changes in jobs, and each one has its unique tendencies, unique problems,” Ruud said. “I like working with the public, so I guess I’m a lifetime educator, and learn, learning for life.”

Asked what he sees as his responsibilities as an interim superintendent, he pointed first to leadership.

“That’s something that is very much needed in every school district,” Ruud said, “getting everybody on the same path and working together to achieve a common goal.”

As for other responsibilities, he pointed to district finances and just all things education.

“I want to make the teachers comfortable,” Ruud said, “and direct them as to what needs to be done and curriculum.”

He also wants to mentor the school’s new assistant principal Lori Zick.

“She’s taken on a very important job in a school district, and she has pretty much had to do it all on her own,” Ruud said. “And it’s not fun. I’ve always felt like I’ve got about 20 other people I can depend on as a superintendent to call on.”

Asked what his expectations of the board are, he said that if the board were to hire him that he would ask that it allow him to his job, not needing micromanaging. Walking around to meet some of the board members he had not yet met, Ruud said he wanted it to be a close relationship.

“If you’re not happy with something, talk to your board chair and she’ll address me or you can call me. My policy has always been open door policy,” Ruud said. “Anybody can walk in at any time and talk to me. And that’s the way I like to be with the community.”

In the meantime, before Ruud officially takes over the superintendent reins, the board approved continuing to cooperate with Marshall County Central Schools and Superintendent Jeffrey Lund for superintendent services through October 29, 2021. As review, at a special October 1 board meeting the board approved Marshall County Central Superintendent and Elementary Principal Lund as an interim superintendent.

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