His last day before retirement is June 20

    Although he’s been Crookston School District superintendent for a relatively short half-dozen years, Chris Bates’ experience with the Crookston community and its schools dates back to 1974, so it was a momentous occasion Monday when he attended his final school board meeting before his retirement takes effect on June 20.

    “I guess I would just say thank you; I’m amazingly humbled,” said the superintendent who began his Crookston experience as a foreign exchange student in 1974, and subsequent to that over several ensuing years worked as a bus driver, teacher and coach.

    At a recent retirement reception, Bates said he was asked what his life would have been like had Crookston never factored into it. “That’s a great question and I really don’t know,” he said. “I got on a plane in 1974 and I really had no idea about where I was going and what it was going to be like. I could have ended up in Oregon or someplace, but what an impact Crookston has had.”

    It’s his wife’s hometown, and their kids call Crookston home, Bates continued. “And we have two burial plots at the cemetery, so we’ll be back at some point,” he added.

    “It’s a pleasure to come to work and work on something you really care for,” Bates noted. “Not everyone gets to do that.”

    Ice cream cake was served at Monday’s meeting to mark Bates’ final board meeting.

    “To say we appreciate what you’ve done for our district, Chris, would be an understatement,” Board Chair Frank Fee said. “There were some hard, tough times, but they were outnumbered by the good times.”

    Board members Kari Miller and Tim Dufault each said they marveled at Bates’ math skills and his ability to quickly work through complex numbers and financial figures.

    But board member Patty Dillabough brought it all back to 1974. “I think every girl had a crush on him back then,” she said.

    On a more serious note, Bates said he spent all of Monday with incoming superintendent, Jeremy Olson, and they’ll work together again on Bates’ last day on June 20. “We’re having some good discussions,” Bates said. “He’s coming into a new situation so he’s figuring some things out.”