8/19/2013 1:39:00 PM New principal appointed at middle school
By David Richards
Students at Byron Middle School will see a new face on campus when the school year begins in a few weeks.
Dr. Dick Jones, a longtime middle school administrator in Minnesota schools, takes over for Rachel Larson, who held the position the past three years.
Larson submitted her resignation earlier this month to be closer to family and friends and to take a position with Stillwater Public Schools as coordinator of learning support in the central office.
Her last day was Friday, Aug. 16 and described the occasion as bittersweet.
"It's been an honor and a privilege to work with the students and staff and their families," Larson said. "I have truly appreciated my time in Byron."
Byron Public Schools superintendent Jeff Elstad said that with it being so close to the school year, it was better to appoint an interim principal then to take a chance on a limited applicant pool.
He added that the position will be posted sometime next spring, probably in March, with an expected start date of July 1.
"Knowing we had a short turnaround, in the best interest of students and their families, I decided to appoint Dr. Jones as the interim principal," Elstad said.
Elstad and Jones were colleagues in Rochester recently, when Elstad was principal at Willow Creek Middle School and Jones held the same title at John Adams Middle School. Jones was principal there for 16 years before retiring in 2010.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work in a quality school district with a quality staff and students and continue the progress that they're making," Dr. Jones said.
Prior to his post at John Adams Middle School, Dr. Jones spent eight years as principal at Moorhead Junior High, as well as three years as a secondary principal in Wabasso. He also taught for 11 years. In the past three years, Dr. Jones has been an adjunct professor at the Rochester site of St. Mary's University.
"He just has a wealth of knowledge and experience," Elstad said.
Larson came to the district three years ago and was a finalist for the superintendent's position now held by Elstad.
Last year, the middle school piloted an iPad program for seventh grades that has now expanded through 12th grade for this school year.
"It was something we needed to do to provide a relevant learning experience for our students," Larson said. "The credit truly goes to the seventh grade team of teachers who did an outstanding job putting in countless hours to give students the innovative and meaningful curriculum."
Elstad praised Larson for her leadership
"Ms. Larson is an excellent administrator and will sorely be missed," Elstad said. "She has a keen set of skills and is a passionate leader. She will leave a definite void for us in the Byron schools.
"However, Dr. Jones brings his experience and that same passion for doing what's best for the students at Byron Middle School."