East Ridge High School assistant principal to retireFor the past 39 years, East Ridge High School Assistant Principal Dennis Roos has helped students traverse the educational journey. But now Roos said it’s time to move on. Ross will retire effective June 30.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
For the past 39 years, East Ridge High School Assistant Principal Dennis Roos has helped students traverse the educational journey. But now Roos said it’s time to move on.
Ross will retire effective June 30.
“There comes a point when you need to step aside and let some young people take over – they’ve got some good, young ideas,” he said. “I didn’t want to slow this group down.”
Roos, of Apple Valley, began his career in education in 1973 when his former high school wrestling coach suggested he become a teacher.
“I stopped to visit him one time while I was in college and he told me I should go into education,” Roos said. “Plus, I had worked for many years with Boy Scouts so I always had an interest in working with young people – that kind of opened the door to education for me.”
The Kansas native received his bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State, in Kansas, in history and physical education. He taught in the Topeka Public Schools District before moving to Minnesota.
Roos said he decided to make the move from teacher to administrator because it would allow him to do more of what he enjoyed doing.
“I was the lowest thing on the totem pole – world history,” he said. “World history was not my most enjoyable subject – I was more of the U.S. history type – but I never had any opportunity to hardly ever teach it.”
Roos completed his master’s degree and administrative licensure at St. Cloud State.
He said he was drawn to secondary education because he felt he would have the most in common with that age group.
“You can crack a joke or talk with them and they understand it,” he said. “Plus, I was smart enough to at least know I wouldn’t work well with elementary students.”
Roos was formerly the principal at Blooming Prairie High School and held positions at North Branch and New Ulm Catholic Schools in Minnesota.
In 1999, Roos began as principal at then-Woodbury Junior High School before moving to East Ridge in 2009.
“I kind of made a circle around the Twin Cities,” Roos said.
Roos said moving to East Ridge was quite the adjustment for him.
“I’ve never been an assistant to anybody,” he said. “I’d always been the top dog, so to speak.”
Roos said it took some adjusting to know when to let things leave his desk and go to East Ridge Principal Aaron Harper.
Over the years, Roos said his favorite part of being an educator is just being around the students.
“They’re a lot of fun to be around,” he said. “It keeps you young in a way, so you don’t become a grouchy old man.”
Roos said some of his best memories during his past 39 years of teaching were his annual trips to Washington, D.C., with students.
While at WJH, Roos would take a group of students to D.C. every summer, a tradition he continued once he moved to East Ridge.
Roos even continued bringing the students at Woodbury Middle School.
To date, Roos said he has brought 13,073 students to Washington, D.C.
“Since it’s in the summer, the students have actually made a commitment to being there, and to me that means a lot,” he said.
Hitting the road
Once Roos walks out the door of East Ridge, his first stop will be Connecticut to visit his daughter, he said.
“I always said when I retire, my first fall will be spent seeing the leaves change in New England,” he said.
Then, in the summer of 2013, after his wife retires, Roos said the plan is for them to spend a year living in Europe – six months in France and six months in Italy.
“Then we’ll figure out where we’re at from then,” he said.
Currently East Ridge is accepting applications for the assistant principal position.
Next week, school staff will begin sifting through the applications and conducting interviews.
Roos said the school is hoping to announce the new assistant principal during the April 26 District 833 School Board meeting.
Roos’ advice for his replacement is: “Come in with a sense of humor,” he said. “Don’t take things too seriously.
“Time will go by fast, so enjoy what you’re doing.”