Building administrators and teachers know how different it will be when a school loses one of its top teachers. Teachers like Nancy McGinty, Pat Mitchell and Stan Zeck, who all retired recently, are not easily replaced. The climate of excellence that these teachers and others like them instilled among students and staff members in their respective buildings is irreplaceable. At Duneland, we have been very lucky to have these three and many, many more outstanding educators grace our halls and educating our students. The Duneland School community will be without that type of presence at the end of this school year. Superintendent Dr. Dirk Baer will be retiring at the end of this school year after 35 years in the field of education with the last 26 being with the Duneland School Corporation.
Dr. Baer served as the high school principal for six years, nine years as assistant superintendent for Business Operations and the last eleven years as superintendent. He has done it all and given his all for Duneland. He is true maroon and gold. The children of the Duneland community, both present and past, are better people because of the leadership he has demonstrated during his time here. Most students don’t even realize how his leadership and his decision-making have affected them. His guidance has always been what is best for the children. There is not a decision that is made from his office that the question of what is best for the children does not get asked. He has been here for the good times and he has helped us through the times that weren’t so great. His calming influence has always been a cornerstone that the rest of the school community and us could count on. We knew, you knew, that with his leadership we would be okay. He is an individual that won’t be replaced easily.
Obviously, Duneland will have school next year. Our doors will be open and the students will arrive next August. They will learn English and Math, some will play football and some will play in the band. Teachers will teach and students will learn. But, something will be missing. Something won’t be the same. I’m sure our new Superintendent, will do a great job and I’m sure that the Duneland School Corporation will continue to be a great school system. But, again, something will be missing.
We congratulate Dr. Baer on his retirement and wish him the very best in the years ahead.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.