EDMORE — Ron Farrell has spent almost half a century in education.
The longtime Montabella Community Schools administrator recently announced his retirement, which will be effective June 30. He’s worked in the Montabella school district for more than four decades, the same district where he grew up and attended school.
Farrell, 68, attended Central Michigan University and Michigan State University before taking a teaching job at Fulton schools in Middleton.
Six years later Farrell took the job of principal at Blanchard Elementary School and Montabella Junior High in 1971. He remained in that position until 2005 when Scott Crosby stepped down as superintendent after serving as administrator since 2001.
Farrell recalls he was picking sweet corn in his garden when the then-school board president, the late Linda Binkley, called and asked if he was interested in taking on superintendent duties. Farrell accepted, albeit reluctantly. Seven years later, he’s happy he took on the challenge.
“The community’s been really good to me,” Farrell said. “I’ve had just great boards and great staff to work with. I just feel blessed. It’s a hard move to make, leaving. I’d just like to go out when things are good.”
Board of Education Secretary Emily Longnecker has worked closely alongside Farrell during his seven years as superintendent. Longnecker’s children had Farrell as a principal years ago when they attended Montabella schools.
“You couldn’t find anyone more dedicated to this school system than Mr. Farrell,” said Longnecker. “He’s a very Christian person. He’s been super to work with. The changes he has made have been good changes.”
As a parting gift to his school district, Farrell and his wife, Sharron, are donating $10,000 to Montabella to start a scholarship foundation.
“I wanted to do something simply as a small act of appreciation for this district and this community because they have been so good to me,” Farrell said.
When he retires this summer, Farrell hopes to travel to Ireland to visit his Irish-Catholic heritage.
“I”ll hopefully have to time to think about the things I want to think about instead of the things I have to think about,” he said of retirement.
Montabella Community Schools superintendents over the years:
• 2005-2012: Ron Farrell
• 2001-2005: Scott Crosby
• 1997-2001: Dave Marston
• 1995-1997: Randy Bos
• 1992-1994: Dian Shaw
• 1976-1992: Jon Whan
• ????-1976: Morley Webb