Rick Panter retired from school administration in June 2014 — but even at the time, he had a feeling it wouldn’t be long before he was back in the saddle.
He revived his education career about five weeks ago when he accepted a job as principal of North Zulch High School.
“I was missing kids, and I really like small school districts,” said Panter, who grew up in Duncanville and most recently worked for Evant ISD.
He comes to North Zulch during a time of transition, when not only did the high school principal need replacing, there’s also a search underway for a new superintendent.
“I was aware of the situation,” Panter said. “I like to keep one foot in the present and one foot in the future. We’re going to move forward.”
Panter got his bachelor’s degree at UT Arlington and a master’s from Texas A&M at Commerce. He started out coaching and teaching and spent the last several years focusing primarily on coaching football and girls’ basketball.
He said he has “no particular concerns” with North Zulch and noted that the staff is outstanding. The married father of four has no school-age children, but thrives on helping provide a good education for local youth.
“My No. 1 reason for being involved is a relationship with the kids,” he said. “I love to be part of their journey. Our No. 1 responsibility is producing productive citizens.”
He’s already caught the attention of students, parents, teachers and interim Superintendent Doug Devine, who commented last week that Panter is doing a great job.
The new principal says he’s taking a slow and steady approach to finishing out the current school year.
“We’re going to do everything we can to improve,” he said. “We’re going to take it little by little.”