When Tim Boatwright graduated from college and was preparing to enter the education field, his father, a teacher and school administrator, offered advice.
“Dad said, ‘Go somewhere you don’t know anybody,’” the Halfway R-3 superintendent recalled. “‘You can always come back home.’”
The recently graduated Boatwright, who had been offered a job at a school in his hometown — Excelsior Springs — instead interviewed at Wheatland. Upon receiving an offer there, he took it.
“I’d never heard of Wheatland,” he said. “I didn’t know schools in southwest Missouri.”
Thirty-one years later, Boatwright will retire this year.
Boatwright’s educational career would take him from Wheatland, where he spent six years, to Buffalo, where he spent 12 years, including a period as elementary school principal, to Halfway, where he’s leaving after 13 years as superintendent Friday, June 28.
“It just seemed like the right time,” Boatwright said of his retirement.
Boatwright said he’s not quite certain what he’ll do now but said future prospects include some in education and some outside the profession.
“I’ve got a few options on the table,” he said. “I’m not sure exactly, but I’m going to stay busy.”
Early on in his tenure at Halfway, Boatwright said he was able to see the district’s 2008 bond pass, bringing funding for needed classroom space. The $1.5 million project added four new elementary classrooms and a new, larger cafeteria, which also serves as a multi-purpose room, according to previous BH-FP coverage. Air conditioning was added to the computer lab area through the project.
The district was also able to complete other projects at the time, not using bond funds, including moving offices closer to the main entrances of the elementary and high schools and making improvements to the vo-ag building, according to past coverage.
Despite being a smaller district, Halfway’s educational technology has kept pace with changing times and prepares students to enter the digital age, Boatwright said.
“Our tech is outstanding,” he said. “We’re as good as anyone when it comes to technology.”
Reached last week, Boatwright said he’s kept busy preparing for the district’s new superintendent, current high school principal Lance Roweton.
“We’ve been fortunate,” Boatwright said of Roweton taking the reins.
The district is moving from three administrators to two, Boatwright said, with Roweton leading the district and current elementary school principal Karla Spear taking over as K-12 principal. The change is timed with his retirement.
“After 13 years here, I’m just trying to make sure everything is ready to go. I’m double checking all the files,” he said.
Looking back over his thirteen years with the district, Boatwright pointed out that Halfway’s 2019 seniors were kindergarteners when he started. In his time with the district, he’s gotten to watch them learn and mature.
“I love watching kids succeed,” he said. “It’s been fun being at one school and watching them grow up to be successful adults.”
Through the district’s growth and changes, Boatwright said he wanted to thank the district’s past board members, teachers, staff, children and the Halfway community.
“They’ve made my last 13 years in education wonderful,” he said.