R-A Superintendent To Retire
RUTHVEN – He’s been a fixture of the Ruthven-Ayrshire Community School District and a familiar face in the Ruthven community for many years. But at the end of June, Ruthven-Ayrshire Superintendent Erv Rowlands will retire from his position and prepare to take a new direction in his life.
“Right now, I’m exploring my options,” said Rowlands with a smile. “Because of early retirement, I have some flexibility to do things. My plan is to find something to refresh myself—it’s a new step, a new stage in my life.”
Rowlands has served in some capacity (as teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent) at Ruthven-Ayrshire for 26 years, but his connection to the local school goes back much further than that. In fact, his ties to the community go back to before his birth. Rowlands’ mother is a graduate of the Ruthven school, and, years ago, Rowlands’ father taught at Ruthven before becoming a school administrator for the Lake Park school district.
“The first house I lived in was right across the street from the Ruthven school building,” said Rowlands, who eventually graduated from Terril High School alongside the girl who would later become his wife.
After high school Rowlands went on to study social studies at Buena Vista College, and was offered his first teaching position at Everly in 1976. In time, he decided to further his education, earning a master’s degree in administration from Northwest Missouri State. With this new degree in hand, Rowlands returned to Ruthven-Ayrshire in 1985 to teach social studies and coach. Three years later, he became principal. By 1998, Rowlands was serving as superintendent. For a few of those years, South Clay shared Rowlands as superintendent with Ruthven-Ayrshire.
“I have lots of memories of being part of this community and, of course, the kids,” Rowlands shared. “Ruthven has been an outstanding place for me to work with the community, staff, and students.”
“It’s has been a good place to raise our family and to be an employee,” Rowlands continued. “All of our children graduated from Ruthven-Ayrshire, and we’ve been pleased with the educational opportunities that they experienced.”
Rowlands and his wife, Ann, who works as a nurse in the operating room at Spencer Hospital, are parents of four children and grandparents to four grandchildren.
Their family includes: Son Shane, a teacher at Guthrie Center; Daughter Kelli, a business teacher at Ruthven-Ayrshire along with her husband Trenton Keefer, a language arts teacher; Daughter Katie, a business student at AIB and assistant manager at a Des Moines theater; and Son Andrew, an undergraduate at Wayne State College studying education.
Of their four grandchildren, the eldest, Noah, attended preschool this year at Ruthven-Ayrshire.
The family tradition of education and connection to the Ruthven community continues.
“This has been a very rewarding experience for me personally,” Rowlands concluded. “It’s the kids, the parents, and the communities that make that possible. The people in Everly, Gillett Grove, Webb, Dickens, Ruthven, and Ayrshire are the ones who have made this possible for me—and given me the opportunity to work with their kids.”
The position of superintendent at Ruthven-Ayrshire Community School has been offered to Norene Bunt, who resides in the Marcus area. For the last two years, Bunt has served as an administrator for the Storm Lake School District. She has been working alongside Rowlands to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Bunt officially begins her duties at Ruthven-Ayrshire on July 1.