Retiring supt. reflects on 32 years in education
Sitting in his office in the Triton Administration area of the school, Superintendent Brett Joyce reflected on his career as he prepares to retire at the end of the current school year.
“I’ve enjoyed my career in education,” he said. “I wouldn’t have done anything else.”
Joyce will officially be retiring at the end of June after 32 years in education, the last 21 of them at Triton. He came to the Triton district in the fall of 1998 as the high school principal. For the last 5 ½ years he has been the superintendent.
Joyce said he came to teaching honestly as his mother was a teacher. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bemidji State University in 1983 and his master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1993. While in graduate school in Iowa City, he taught psychology at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. He earned his education specialist degree in 1998 from Winona State University.
He began his career teaching economics, psychology and sociology in Stewartville before moving on to Le Center High School as principal in 1996.
While Joyce said he feels very good about many things during the past five years such as automating the district office software and technology, finishing the facilities and a state-of-the-art multi-purpose field, the best part of his career as both a teacher and superintendent has been the students and the people he has worked alongside.
“It’s been fun and rewarding to be able to help people, students and staff,” he said. “Writing letters for college applications and scholarships has been really fun.”
About the facility, Joyce said the school is an “absolutely wonderful facility for students to learn in.”
He said he has worked with a good team and there are many key leaders in place to move the district into the future. It has been gratifying, he said, to work with Craig Schlichting in the transition. Schlichting, who is currently the high school principal, will move into the superintendent position when Joyce retires.
There have been challenges, Joyce said, specifically in passing an operating levy. He is hopeful, he said, that this levy will pass in the fall.
One of the things he likes about Triton, he said, is that it is a smaller district, and a smaller school can be a positive for the students.
In a school such as Triton, he said, it is still possible to know the kids’ names. With a smaller school there are more opportunities for the students to participate in more activities.
It’s a “family feeling” at Triton, he said, where there is a sincere concern and caring for students.
“There is not a lot of ‘I’ and a lot of ‘we’ here,” he said.
The Hiawatha Valley League (HVL), he added, is the best conference and has the best schools in the state.
“It’s been a great run,” Joyce said. “I’ve had a great career. I’m proud to be an educator.”
Although he is officially retiring as of June 30, Joyce said he will be using vacation time and his last day at the district will be June 10.
When he leaves the school for the last time that night after the June school board meeting, there will be more changes than just the office.
His wife, Renae, retires from her job at CTG in Rochester at the end of May and come June 11 they will be heading to Florida where they have a home in Orlando.
Joyce said they will not be abandoning Minnesota completely as their children live in the area, and they will be keeping their home in Rochester and returning for a portion of the year.
What are his plans for retirement?
“I want to make reading and learning a big part of my day,” he said. He also plans to volunteer wherever he can with the local schools, he said, and at some point do consulting work in corporate training.