New River Crest principal comes by way of IndonesiaIt may be the furthest any educator has travelled to be interviewed for a job with the Hudson School District. But then it wasn’t a conventional job application.
Todd Barringer has global connections.
It may be the furthest any educator has travelled to be interviewed for a job with the Hudson School District. But then it wasn’t a conventional job application.
Travis Barringer is River Crest Elementary’s new principal. He has just finished up a two-year teaching sabbatical from South Washington County Schools in Minnesota teaching fourth grade at the International School in Jakarta, Indonesia. He interviewed for the job at River Crest using Skype video communication via the Internet after receiving e-mails about the position. Everyone involved in the interview was mutually impressed and Barringer landed the job formerly held by Pat Hodges who retired at the end of the last school year. His salary is $98,538 plus benefits.
Prior to Jakarta, Barringer, 36, worked as an elementary classroom teacher and as a K-12 math and science specialist. He also served as an assistant principal of an elementary school in Cottage Grove, Minn. He attended undergraduate school at Concordia in Moorhead, Minn., and got his master’s degree in educational leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University. He earned his principal’s license from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis. Barringer’s wife Jennifer also taught in Jakarta and has returned to a teaching job in Cottage Grove, where the couple live with their two daughters.
Barringer said he always knew he wanted to have an international teaching experience. More than 30 years ago his parents moved to Australia where his father taught for two years. Barringer was born there. The family returned to their hometown of Red Wing, Minn., where Barringer grew up.
“It was something I always knew was possible because of my folks and I knew I wanted to have that global experience; we both did. Our kids were the right age. It would be both formative and memorable. The world is doable. All it takes is a ticket.”
Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world with some 250 million people just behind the U.S. population. The country is made up of some 17,000 islands and attracts people from all over the world. At the Jakarta International School, the students came from more than 60 countries along with local students.
Barringer said the experience was invaluable. “With teachers and students from all over the globe, it was a chance to see how education is valued not only in Indonesia but in other cultures as well.”
Barringer said part of the appeal of the job at River Crest was the Hudson School District’s strategic plan, HSD 2025 which makes global literacy one of the its graduate student outcomes. He was in contact with the school right around the time fourth-grade students were working on their immigration simulation. “I remember thinking about the contacts I’ve made in the international teaching community from every continent and how that could impact the experience of our students here.”
The international experience behind him, Barringer began working at River Crest this month. He said his number one priority as the school’s new leader is student learning. He describes himself as a “natural leader” and is looking forward to getting to know his staff, students and their families.
He said curiosity about him has already brought some staff members in and he said he senses real excitement about the coming year. “I expect to work collaboratively and build trust with the staff. And of course getting to know the students and their parents is the most important thing on the agenda.”
Barringer sent a video message to the staff and students after he got the job but was still in Indonesia. “I wanted them to know who I was and hopefully be comfortable enough to come up and approach me.”
Barringer said with River Crest being the district’s newest school, he won’t have to worry much about building maintenance and he considers himself lucky to find himself at one of the few LEED Gold certified sustainably designed schools in western Wisconsin.
“I can just look out my window and see our campus and just across the road see people going by on horseback at the Y camp. This building and Hudson’s reputation for collaboration, working together to make this site happen — it’s a big part of why I wanted to come here.”
In the coming weeks, Barringer is planning on meeting with the River Crest Parent Group and plans on using more technology to reach out to his staff and students over the summer. And he is of course looking forward to his first day at his new school on Sept. 1.
To contact Barringer go online at www.hudson.k12.wi.us or call (715)377-3890.