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John Adams principal to retire in November

John Adams Middle School Principal Richard Jones has told the Post-Bulletin that he plans to retire at the end of this calendar year, the third Rochester principal in as many weeks to announce his departure.

Jones, 59, has worked in education for 37 years and 15 as John Adams principal. He won't be leaving Rochester public schools for several months.

His official last day will be Nov. 26. This year, he was paid $108,541.

"It will be part joy and celebration, and part heartache," Jones said. "I'll miss the day-to-day activity. You may have a nice plan and calendar at the start of the day, but it's basically mach 4 with your hair on fire from the time you step in the door to the time you go home."

Jones said by notifying the district six months early, he can receive better severance pay. Also, he wanted to be around to help staff members as they transition through John Adams's summer construction projects.


"It's right; it's a good time," Jones said.

He plans to spend more time with his elderly parents, who live in Fairmont, Minn., and also with a new granddaughter in West Fargo, N.D.

Staying on for an entire year only to increase his retirement benefits wouldn't be right, Jones said.

While Jones was principal, John Adams Middle School embarked on specialized one-on-one interventions, including Read 180 and Voyager Math.

Later, when Superintendent Romain Dallemand led the formation of the district's five-year plan to close the district's achievement gap, both programs were at the forefront.

Last month, the school received the "Star of Innovation" award from the Southeastern Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals for their implementation of the two programs.

Jones said staff members have been able to establish a tradition of innovation at the school. They recently started a program with University of Minnesota-Rochester, in order to expose 70 seventh-graders to a collegiate program.

"We're exposing them to the opportunity that, yes you, too, can go to college," Jones said.


In his 15 years, he said technology and the community of Rochester itself are the biggest changes he has witnessed.

"Our community has changed and very fortunately it has become more diverse," Jones said. "It has allowed our students an opportunity to function and be involved in a microcosm of what they will encounter in the workforce."

He has previously applied for superintendent jobs — reaching the finalist level for a few in Iowa — but said he doesn't have any plans like that now.

"I'm not sure what the future holds," Jones said. "I'll kick back and go forward."

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