Richard Limke is officially retiring again after three years as superintendent of the Minot Catholic Schools.
"It's been a long, enjoyable, winding road in retrospect," said Limke of his long career in education. "I never really thought seriously of another occupation."
Limke, who has more than 35 years experience as a high school and college coach and 20 years of experience in school administration, was approached about taking over as superintendent after then Superintendent Kevin Harmon had resigned to take a position at Minot State University. Limke, with a number of years as superintendent at Bismarck St. Mary's as well as other schools in the state, had just the right background for the job.
Andrea Johnson/MDN • Richard Limke will retire as superintendent of the Minot Catholic Schools after this school year.
Limke began his career as a teacher and coach at Center after he graduated from the then Minot State University Teachers College in 1963. Among area schools, he also taught at Tioga. He went on to earn his master's degree from North Dakota State University in Fargo in the early 1970s and later served as administrator at Bismarck St. Mary's before coming to Minot State University in 1985, where he served for 14 years as the head basketball and head golf coach. Following his retirement from Minot State, Limke served as superintendent for four years at Max. He was also the superintendent during the final days of the elementary school in Lansford. When he was approached about filling in as superintendent after Harmon left the Minot Catholic Schools, Limke said it was always under the understanding that every year was a one-year contract. A one-year stint stretched into three.
Limke said he's enjoyed his days as an educator and he thinks working with young people has probably kept him young and aware of the many advances that are being made in the field of education.
"No two days are the same," said Limke.
He has great respect for the teachers he has worked with, as well. Bishop Ryan has a core group of veteran educators as well as some of the newer teachers who come into the system with fresh ideas. Newer teachers fresh from college bring with them new ideas about how to use the latest technology. Limke said change can be hard for educators, but kids are so familiar with technology that they expect it in the classroom. They learn in different ways than kids did a generation ago and seem to be visual learners, said Limke.
"You have to keep up," said Limke.
A few years in the future, Limke said he believes many classrooms will do without traditional textbooks. When Limke started out as a teacher in the mid-1960s, offices were filled with ditto machines.
Limke said he thinks kids have changed in other ways as well. He said kids are so busy these days with school, extracurricular activities and work that he doesn't think they have time to be alone and learn about themselves. Growing up on a farm, Limke had more time for introspection, which Limke thinks is still important.
Limke has also tried to teach some of the lessons he's learned during his lifetime to the young people he's worked with. He said he has always learned more in losing than he has in winning. After a loss, there's more time to reflect on what went wrong and what is needed to be successful the next time. There isn't as much thought following a win. He also wants young people to view testing as a gift that helps them improve. After all, when you struggle with something you will become better at it.
"Pressure is a privilege," said Limke.
Minot has excellent public schools, so the Minot Catholic Schools must offer something a little bit unique to its students. Limke said he doesn't see the Catholic schools as competing with the public schools, but as complementary. He's found that Catholic Schools are able to combine some of that religious and moral instruction along with the academics. Since the Minot Catholic Schools are a private school system, Limke said fundraising is a necessity to provide students with everything they need. The Minot Catholic Schools have hired a firm to help it develop a strategic plan that will guide future growth.
Someone else will be at the helm next year, though.
Limke said he's ready to enjoy his retirement. He plans to spend more time golfing, figuring out farm operations on his brother's farm and, most importantly of all, spending more time with his family. He has children and young grandchildren living in other states that he and his wife will have to do some traveling to see on a regular basis. Limke said his grandchildren are at an age where it is important for him to spend time with them.