Brett Joyce, the current Triton High School principal, will become the new superintendent on January 1, 2014. Photo by Larry Dobson
Triton board chooses Joyce as superintendent
By Larry Dobson
Triton School Board members voted 5-2 last Wednesday, Dec. 11 to negotiate a contract with Triton High School Principal Brett Joyce to become the district's superintendent on January 1, 2014. Robert Kelly's contract with the district will end on Dec. 31.
Joyce said Monday afternoon that he is excited about and looking forward to taking on the challenge of being Triton School District Superintendent, after 16 years as a principal at Triton. He said he understands a couple of the board members didn't vote for him, but he does not see that as a vote against him. "I want to earn the entire board's respect and look forward to the challenge of working and managing together."
Joyce, who grew up and graduated high school in Bemidji, has a bachelor degree in social studies and secondary education from Bemidji State, a master's in educational psychology from Iowa State and an education specialist in educational administration degree from Winona State. His goal has been to become a superintendent.
This holiday season will be special for the Joyce family, not just because of his promotion to superintendent. He and his wife Renae will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on New Year's Eve.
The Joyces have three children and four grandchildren. Their youngest son, Andre, graduated Triton in 2012. Daughter April and her husband Ryan Kennedy have three children, Carter, Cole, and Paisley. Son Joseph Wright and his wife Robin have a daughter, Page. Joyce said family is very important to him.
Being selected as superintendent didn't really come as a surprise, Joyce said, He was pleased that the competition was rigorous with several very well qualified candidates as he felt it was important to earn the job based on his qualifications. He has wanted to be superintendent at Triton as he said there is no better place. "The staff is awesome, the communities are awesome, the facility is awesome," Joyce said.
"I know the people here," Joyce said referring to the community. "Students are the most important, that's why I make it a point to know their names. They're like my own kids, I listen to them -- and give advice when it is asked for or needed."
"Right now," Joyce said, "the biggest challenges are developing a strategic plan based on identifying priorities and a method to accomplish them, and developing a modern curriculum delivery system, a technology delivery system."
Joyce said there is no definite plan right now for a new principal. "I have to meet with the administrative team to plan what we want to do," he said. "I have talked with Jon (Streiff, chair of the school board) but it is undecided. Starting Jan. 1, Craig (Schlichtling, Middle School principal) and I will cooperate to manage the high school and middle school. Craig may be interested in being high school principal. "
Joyce said Elementary School Principal Nancy Stucky is too busy with the elementary school to assist at the high school.
The ultimate decision on what to do about the high school principal slot will be up to the school board. By sharing responsibility with Schlichting until the end of the school year, when the board will have make a decision about what they want to do after July 1, Joyce said the district will avoid some expense.
Joyce has been at Triton for 16 years. Prior to coming here he taught for six years at Stewartville, went back to Iowa State for two years earning his master's and teaching at college for one year, returned to Stewartville for three more years before coming to Triton.
Joyce said he plans to meet with people in West Concord and Claremont. "There is a reason the school is named Triton," he said. "I am going to get out and meet with people in West Concord and Claremont. They are part of the district, and I want to work together to educate all of our children. I will call to set up meetings."
Joyce closed out the interview with an expression of gratitude to Bob Kelly and the school board. "I thank Kelly and the board for what they have done to provide the district with a very good facility and staff," he said. "It makes it nice to come into. The facility and finances are in good shape, so we can concentrate on the thing that is really important -- educating students."