Morton principal switches to Eureka

Holly Richrath

Bob Bardwell made a recent career move, leaving his position as principal at Lettie Brown Elementary School.

He began as principal at Eureka Middle School July 1.

Bardwell told Superintendent Dr. Roger Kilpatrick his plans to leave Lettie Brown June 22. The following day, he met with the school’s staff and told them the news.

“It was really tough saying goodbye,” he said. “Leaving Lettie Brown was bittersweet.”  

Bardwell said he had a great experience at Lettie Brown, but the move was what was best for his family.

“I’ll miss the people most,” he said. “The staff is very family-oriented and I love the kids. I’ll miss the administration team too. I have some life-long friends there. It’s a great group of people.”

Bardwell said he and his family moved to the area when he received the job at Lettie Brown in 2002. They became members of Liberty Bible Church in Eureka while building their home in Morton. The family planned on finding a church closer to home, but “fell in love with the people of Liberty Bible Church.”

Bardwell now lives in Goodfield with his wife, Nicole, and three children, Natalie, 12; Meredith, 9; and Charlie, 5. Natalie Bardwell will be entering fifth grade at the school where her father is now principal.

Bardwell said he is looking forward to being involved as all three of his children go through Eureka Middle School.

“I’ve been wanting to be a part of their education and be in their school district,” Bardwell said.

During his time at Lettie Brown, Bardwell gained experience in being principal to fifth and sixth grade students. He said adding seventh and eighth graders to the mix will provide new obligations.

“There are a lot more activities after school that I am now responsible for,” he said.

Bardwell added that he will also be responsible for more students. There are about 475 attending EMS, and about 315 at Lettie Brown.

Bardwell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in legal studies from Springfield’s Sangamon State University, where he also obtained a teaching certification. He earned a master’s degree in education leadership from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

His career in education began at Ball Elementary School in Chatham, where he taught fourth grade for seven years and was the school’s assistant principal for one year. While in Chatham, Bardwell coached junior high and high school basketball and junior high track. He left Ball for Lettie Brown, beginning his eight-year career in District 709 July 1, 2002.

Bardwell said he is looking forward to new possibilities at Eureka Middle School.

“I’m excited about getting to know the people in Eureka and building relationships with the people here, that’s my goal,” he said.

Kilpatrick said applications are currently being taken for the position of principal at Lettie Brown.