An Eagle returns to roost: Ryan Conrad to be new Thatcher High School principal

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Ryan Conrad: After two years helming Pima Junior High School, Ryan Conrad – pictured here with his son, Jackson – will be returning to his roots to become the principal at Thatcher High School.

By Jon Johnson

THATCHER/PIMA – Thatcher alumnus Ryan Conrad (Class of 1993) will return to the school he attended as a student and taught, but this time he will be the top administrator and serve as principal.

Current Pima Junior High School Principal Ryan Conrad has been named as the new Thatcher High School principal and will replace outgoing principal Jeff Lords.

Both of his parents, Don and Joan Conrad, have taught in the district for numerous years, with Joan still serving as a Title 1 first-grade reading teacher for Jack Daley Primary School. Ryan Conrad also taught at Thatcher for four years as a social studies teacher and has contributed as an assistant coach for its football team.

“The opportunity to go back to a place where I grew up attending school and have been a teacher is exciting, but I have really loved my time at Pima Junior High School,” Ryan Conrad said. “Our staff, teachers, and kids are just absolutely amazing here. While I am excited for the new opportunity, I am sad to be leaving Pima.”

Ryan Conrad said he is looking forward to new challenges at Thatcher High School and hopes to be able to open the school in a normal fashion come Fall, but if that is not possible he feels confident that the school will be more prepared to function in a remote-learning environment.

“The hope is if we do have to continue with this or if there is a surge again during cold and flu season that forces a mandatory shut down again, the hope is that we’ll be able to do this better than we did this time,” Ryan Conrad said. “This time, schools had such short notice to make these wholesale changes – it was very difficult. I can say my teachers and staff at Pima Junior High School – the resiliency and the persistence that they showed in working to serve our students was nothing short of remarkable.”

Ryan Conrad also praised the parents for their efforts and said a collaborative effort was done to make it through the school year.

One of his highlighted programs from the junior high the past year included the school’s kindness initiative that had more than 15 local businesses partner with the school to provide prizes for students who excelled in the program.

“The number of student conflicts or fights reduced dramatically this year,” Ryan Conrad said. “Our kids looked for opportunities to be somebody to somebody.”

Contributed Photo: Pima Junior High School Kindness Initiative sponsors are represented on Rider T-shirts, which were given away as part of the available prizes. The school and student body thank the local businesses for their support.

Ryan Conrad also thanked Pima Superintendent Sean Rickert for taking a chance on him and supporting his employment.

“I am so grateful for Mr. Rickert for his mentorship and his friendship,” Ryan Conrad said. “He took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to come here and be an administrator. I know moving forward that he will continue to be a mentor and friend for me both on a professional and personal level.”

Rickert said that Ryan Conrad meshed well in Pima after starting with the Gear Up program and then becoming principal of the junior high.

“He’s done some great things,” Rickert said. “We’re sad to see him go. We wish him the best of luck in his new adventures in the Eagle nation. We’re just glad to see people being successful.”

As for Pima, Pima Elementary School Principal Eddy Carlton will move over to be the new Pima Junior High School principal and the district has hired Steve Yoder as the new elementary school principal. Yoder most recently served as the superintendent/principal at Concho Elementary School for the past five years. He also served as the principal at Valley View in El Frieda, and previously taught and coached basketball at Fort Thomas.

“Pima Junior High School is a great school because our kids are great and the teachers are great,” Ryan Conrad said. “It’s really been an honor and a privilege to be the principal here. I’ve really enjoyed it.”