Former Holton principal helped move district forward
By Brian Sanders
A longtime fixture in the Holton school district and a key player in its expansions during his quarter-century with USD 336 has died, it was reported.
Ron Folk, 74, who served as building principal over two Holton schools, watching over the building of one school and the renovation of the other, was also remembered as a key player in bringing technological and curriculum improvements to the school during his time here.
Folk, who retired from a career in education in 2000 after serving the Holton district for 25 years, died Monday at Medicalodges Jackson County, it was reported. Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday morning at the Holton Country Club.
A native of the Holyrood area who also worked in Pawnee Rock and Clearwater, Folk came to Holton as a middle school counselor in 1974 and became middle school principal the next year, a time when that school was the new education building in town. During his time as Holton Middle School principal, he also served as a high school basketball coach.
In 1987, Folk was named Holton High School principal and basketball coach. During his time as HHS principal, he told The Holton Recorder in 1998, one of the school’s greatest challenges was the one that he and students faced during renovation of the high school in 1994. The work started during the final nine-week period of the school year, and students were forced to relocate classes to the school’s gymnasiums.
“I thought that was a very good community undertaking — we got a lot of support,” Folk told The Recorder. “We divided it up between gymnasiums — 12 in one and six in the other, and the classes were separated by wire and plastic. It was interesting, because students really picked up the slack and tried a little harder. If we would have had to do classes that way for more than nine weeks, I don’t think we would have been as successful. But they did a super job.”
Folk has also overseen the construction of the recessed gymnasium, the design of which came about as part of a late 1970s building survey; the video lab that enabled students to produce and direct programs for Holton’s public access channel; and the remodeling of the original HHS gym into a library that Folk referred to as “the heart of the school.”
After his retirement from the Holton school district, Folk and his wife, Janice, remained in Holton.
“I really enjoy the community. It’s a great community to raise a family in,” Folk said of Holton in 1998.
An obituary for Folk appears on page 5 of today’s Recorder.