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Northrop says goodbye to Belfield School District

Wade Northrop graduated from Belfield Public School in 1972. This July, he will retire from the same school where he has served as superintendent for the last six years. The most rewarding part of his career is what he'll miss the most -- the peo...

Wade Northrop
Wade Northrop

Wade Northrop graduated from Belfield Public School in 1972. This July, he will retire from the same school where he has served as superintendent for the last six years.

The most rewarding part of his career is what he'll miss the most - the people with whom he worked.

"The kids are actually No.1 I'll miss the most," he said. "I enjoy working within the school system itself, with all the staff - your teachers, your custodians, your cooks, working with board members, working with community members. I think I'll miss all of that."

They will miss him, too. When he announced his retirement at a school board meeting, the members of the board jokingly refused to accept it.

Daren Kurle, secondary principal and incoming superintendent, has worked for Northrop for a few years. Kurle said Northrop has been the best superintendent for whom he has worked.

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"We're going to miss him, that's for sure. Unless he's changing his number, he better expect some phone calls from me. Hopefully he doesn't change his number, but if he does, I'll get that one, too," he laughed. "I want to keep in touch with him. I want him to know that what we're doing here at the school is just an extension of things that he started. I want him to feel like he's a part of what we're doing."

Kurle said his first impression of Northrop was that while he liked to be informed, he wasn't a micro-manager.

"If I asked him for opinions on things, he was very welcoming to give his opinion, but it wasn't like he said, 'No, I think you should do this.' He let me do my thing, supported my decisions, but when asked, was willing to give his opinion on anything really," he said.

Kurle liked that Northrop was mild-mannered, even-tempered and thorough.

"He thinks things through. He doesn't really rush into any judgments on anything," he said. "I really appreciate that because it teaches me to do that same thing. Take your time, make a good, informed decision about things. Don't make a rash one that you have to back up on. When you've got all the information you need, then you can make the decision."

Belfield School Board President Anthony Krebbs was on the board when Northrop was hired.

"We had a good working relationship," he said. "I thought he was very open to us as a board, and I thought that he was a reasonable man. I think he always tried to do the best job he could. ... I would just like to say thank you from myself personally, for the service that he's done for the Belfield School District."

Northrop said his hope for the future of the district is that it continues to explore ways to build a new school, which he said has been the biggest challenge the district has faced during his time as superintendent.

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"We've been working on a new school project for 4 or 5 years now," he said. "The hardest part is just trying to figure out how we can build a new facility for our students in this district. The challenge is we're such a small district and our taxable evaluation isn't as high as we'd like it to be, due to the small size. Just figuring out how we can build a new facility without costing our taxpayers a bunch of money."

After retiring, Northrop plans to stay in the area and spend more time with his wife.

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