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Tews brings 40-year career to Lynd School District

LYND — When Bob Tews looked for a perfect place to transition into retirement, his most obvious choice was the Lynd Public School.

A month after the start of the 2019-20 school year, he considers it not only the most obvious choice but also the best choice he could have made.

Tews spent 39 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent at the Cedar Mountain School District with campuses in Morgan and Franklin. He began his new superintendent duties in Lynd this summer.

“The school district’s needs fit very well with my career needs,” Tews said. “I began to consider it because they wanted part time and I wanted part time. Everything I’ve found out since then has told me that we have an extremely good combination.”

His main prior familiarity with the Lynd district involves nearby Camden State Park in the Redwood River Valley. Tews and his family have camped there many times and consider it a favorite camping spot.

“I’d often thought that Lynd seemed like the perfect place to have a school,” he said. “It’s great that a small town in a beautiful location has been able to keep a local public school, especially one that serves grades K-8.”

Tews was part of the same kind of effort at Cedar Mountain, starting when he joined the teaching staff at Morgan’s school building when it was just the Morgan district.

Almost a half century later with the combined Cedar Mountain both communities still have schools. Elementary students attend classes in Franklin while older grades are based in Morgan.

Tews said he sees many other smaller similarities every day he drives to Lynd for a school day.

He’s employed on a 113-day contract, which is flexible from week to week based on when he’s needed most. He works an average of two days a week.

His favorite part of those days happens first thing in the morning, when he steps outside to greet students as they step off the school bus. He said it’s always motivational to see happy, eager young faces that indicate how a large share of children and teenagers are looking forward to a day with teachers, staff and friends.

“It’s very important that they know me as more than just the authority figure,” Tews said. “They need to know that I want them to like school and that I want to be their friend. It’s much more likely to happen if they’re seeing me face to face than if I’m holed up in my office.”

He added that an important rule of thumb for managing everyday conflicts is to keep in mind that kids might have bad days and that some will have more bad days than others, but that children are instinctively good kids.

He said Lynd’s staff is also proving cohesive with the longer, ongoing process of helping each child advance from one grade to the next.

“In any school there’s a need to tell each other honestly what seems to work and what doesn’t,” Tews said. “That helps everyone. We all learn from each other.”

Tews, originally from Litchfield, earned his bachelor’s degree from Jamestown College in Jamestown, North Dakota and his graduate degree from Minnesota State University-Mankato.

His wife still teaches first grade at Cedar Mountain. Both of his daughters are employed at nearby school districts.

Lynd Principal Jason Swenson has followed the same type of career path as Tews, first as a second-grade teacher at Park Side Elementary School in Marshall and now as Lynd’s principal.

“Our school year is off to a great start,” Swenson said. “We’re a very good team with strong communication. The most important part of education is the students.”

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