by J.O. Parker
“You can Dream, Design, and Build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality,” Walt Disney…favorite quote of Rick Radcliffe
BGM Secondary Principal Rick Radcliffe announced late last month that he is retiring after nearly 40 years as a teacher, administrator and coach, including 24 years at the Brooklyn school.
“I wanted to take the time to thank all of the students, parents and patrons of the BGM communities for the 24 years of support,” he noted in a letter to students, staff and the Brooklyn community. “I wanted to thank you for the privilege and honor to serve your communities as an educator. Little did I know when I arrived in 1996 that it would lead to the end of my career as a principal 24 years later.”
Radcliffe went on to say that BGM is a wonderful place to be and that he is glad to have stayed so long.
“Your school has something pretty unique,” he said in the letter. “Since the high school building was first used in the 1960’s, there have only been three principals during that time. I believe that the names of those principals were Herb Haas, Duane Munson and myself.”
“That shows just how committed the BGM school community is towards their schools,” he added. “The average span of time that a principal stays is 3 - 6 years.”
A 1976 graduate of Allison-Bristow High School, Radcliffe holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Physical Education from Upper Iowa University, where he graduated in 1980. He earned his Master’s Degree in Secondary Administration, 7-12 Principal, graduating in 1990 from Northwest Missouri State. He holds a Superintendent Endorsement from the University of Northern Iowa.
When asked what led him to enter the education field, Radcliffe said he really liked school and playing sports.
“I wanted to provide the experiences that I had for others,” he said. “The logical way to do that was become a teacher and coach. I then decided to become a principal to have a greater impact on students and their school experience,” he said.
Prior to coming to BGM, Radcliffe worked at the following school districts.
• Meservey-Thorton Schools, Thorton, 1.5 years as English teacher and coach.
• Starmont Schools, Strawberry Point, 5 years as English teacher and coach.
• North Platte Schools, Dearborn, Mo., 5 years as physical education teacher and coach, including four years as 7-12 principal.
• Bowling Green Schools, Bowling Green, Mo., four years as assistant principal and coach.
• BGM Schools, Brooklyn, 24 years, 7-12 principal and coach.
When asked what brought him to BGM, Radcliffe said he was looking for an opportunity to be closer to home and work as a 7-12 principal while still coaching football.
During his tenure, Radcliffe said he had the honor of holding graduation exercises for around 1,100 graduates at BGM.
“I wanted to thank all of those students for making BGM proud with all of your accomplishments,” he said. “Now to the students who are at the school now, I want you to know that you are the best! I always told people that the thing that makes BGM special is its students. You are a great group of students. I fully believe that BGM has the best students and it was a privilege to be your principal.
Thanks for making a difference
To the many support staff over the years: You are what makes our school go. For the custodians, cooks, bus drivers and the aides I always admired the pride you have for our school. To the three principal secretaries (Virginia Ricketts, Billie Calderwood, Julie Weiss), I owe you a big thanks for all of your help to keep me in line and putting up with all of my moods. To the superintendent secretaries and business managers, thanks for answering all of my questions.
To all of the teachers I have been privileged to work with over the years: I have learned so much from each and every one of you. I appreciate the dedication that all of you, past and present, have showed our students. I was always proud of how much our teachers always put the needs of the students first. You always made it a joy to come to work.
To all of the elementary principals that I have been privileged to work with over the years: It made my job easier to have the support that you gave to me. Thanks for being a listening post when the trying times arose. It was good to be able to bounce ideas back and forth.
To the three superintendents who I have had the privilege to work with through the years: I want to thank you for taking a chance on a young principal and then for working with me and molding me into the person I am today. I learned a lot from each of you. BGM has been blessed to have the Superintendents they have had. I wanted to thank you for letting me do the job and for the support that you gave me.
To all of the school board members I have served with for the past 24 years: You have built one of the best schools in the state of Iowa. I appreciate all of your effort and the support you gave me over the years.
“The support of the patrons of this school have allowed you to have one of the best school campuses in the state of Iowa,” noted Radcliffe. “With the new building projects you will improve your campus even more. This show of support is one of the reasons that we are able to attract young teachers to come to our district. I wish that you could see the eyes of wonder when we show new families, visitors and teaching candidates around our building. They all ask how we were able to have the nice facilities we have. It is with great pride when I can tell them of the excellent support of our communities.”
Challenge for the future
“I want to challenge the students, teachers, support staff, administration, school board and patrons to always move forward,” noted Radcliffe. “Continue to build your school into one of the best destination schools in the state. Don’t ever be afraid to take a chance and improve your school. I am a firm believer that there are only two ways to go forwards or backwards. If you stay status-quo you will fall behind. BGM is where it is at today because of the people. You have shown your pride in our school and it shows…Go Bears!”
In retirement, Radcliffe plans to take some time to fish and golf. He also plans to help the Friends Church in Grinnell with any needs they might have. He also plans to spend more time helping his wife complete projects around the house that need done.
“I also plan to help BGM with any coaching vacancies they can’t fill so that I can stay around the student-athletes,” said Radcliffe.