Kauzlarich ready to resume travels

Larry Kauzlarich thanks school board members near the end of the board’s
June 24 meeting. Kauzlarich is stepping down after two years as superintendent of the New Prague Area Schools. (Chuck Kajer Photo)

Larry Kauzlarich said he isn’t retiring... He’s already done that.

But after two years at the helm of the New Prague Area School District, Kauzlarich is stepping down as superintendent and preparing to do some traveling. Next week, he’ll be leaving on a trip to Scandinavia, and over the next few years he hopes to travel to South America, Australia and Africa.

“I’ve been to 44 different countries, mostly since I retired in 2008,” said Kauzlarich, who has been a school administrator for 42 years in Iowa and Minnesota.

Kauzlarich was superintendent in Jordan from 1996 to 2008 and retired from that position. However after three years of traveling and retirement, he was approached about getting back into the game, to serve as interim superintendent in New Prague.

He stepped in after several months of turmoil that included the departure of Craig Menozzi, whose three-year tenure ended abruptly after several months of turmoil.

“It’s always unfortunate when something like that happens,” Kauzlarich said, noting that there were people who felt strongly on both sides of the issue. He said he came in and worked hard to heal the rifts that had formed.

“This is a people business,” he said. “The key is to get everyone on the same page.”

Several months into the job, Kauzlarich signed on for a second year, and he considered staying for a third year, but announced last winter that this would be it.

“I really enjoyed working here,” he said. “If I was 59 instead of 69, I could see staying for awhile. But I’ve got some traveling I want to do,” he added. When he announced his decision last winter, he said the district needed someone who would commit to the community for the long run.

“It’s been an enjoyable two years,” he said, “except for the events of this spring.”

He said in his 42 years as an administrator, this spring was the first time he’s had to deal with a bomb threat or a school lockdown. The district had two bomb threats and a lockdown due to a false report of a school shooting all within the space of a few weeks this year.

He came to New Prague knowing the district had a good reputation. Not only had he worked nine miles away for 12 years, but his daughter taught here for four years.

“I’ve always found New Prague to be a great community. It’s a nice looking town, and has a good schools system. The communities that make up the school district are all nice places and support the schools. There's a dedicated staff, not only teachers, but support staff and administrators, and the school board was supportive and let me do my job. The community should be proud of the schools.”