DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY | Montgomery County News Members of the Mount Ida School Board recently unveiled the newly named Bobby Barrett Elementary School sign. Bobby Barrett and his family were on hand for the occasion. Barrett served as Superintendent at Mount Ida for 19 years and was instrumental in the purchase of the property and the building of the elementary campus. Pictured left to right: Josh Carr, Barrett Carr, Randi Carr, Randy Barrett, Theda Barrett, Bobby Barrett, Crystal Carlton, Phillip Carr, Jim Jones, Shane Forga, Kevin Wilson and Superintendent Hal Landrith.
MOUNT IDA – Long time Superintendent Bobby Barrett was recently honored by the Mount Ida School District when they announced that the elementary school will now be known as Bobby Barrett Elementary School.
A life long resident of Mount Ida, Barrett worked in education for 33 years and upon his retirement in 1989, he had served 19 years as Mount Ida’s superintendent.
He started his career with a three year stint in Oden as a basketball coach. He shared that his dream was to be a coach and was thankful for the opportunity. Barrett got the job with a 60 hour teaching certificate, but he was able to complete his bachelor’s degree at Henderson while teaching.
He stated he had two good years on the basketball court at Oden followed by a rebuilding year, but an opportunity to move home to Mount Ida cut short his tenure with the Timberwolves.
Barrett, a 1952 graduate from Mount Ida, returned home to teach Social Studies. Two years later he was given the opportunity to coach basketball for the Lions. Barrett has some good memories from his time as coach for the Lions, but as much as he loved coaching another calling entered his life.
Three years into his time as coach for Mount Ida, Barrett was hired as a principal at Mount Ida, a job he held as he continued to coach for another five years.
He recalled that while he was at Oden, their superintendent, Ode Maddox, wore many hats. Maddox not only served in the state legislature, but also coached while working as superintendent.
Barrett followed the lead of his mentor by wearing both hats at Mount Ida before leaving for a year to work in Hot Springs. He remembers leaving the school in 1969 to work at a rehab center in Hot Springs. The job required him to work nights, which prevented him from attending his son Randy Barrett’s athletic events.
One year later he was asked to come back to Mount Ida to be the high school principal and he never looked back.
He recalled that the principal job quickly took on a more serious role when a few days before school started the superintendent abruptly resigned. Barrett was asked to step into the position days before the first bell that year.
Barrett was a natural in the position with two generations of students learning under his tutelage. He was known as a disciplinarian. When asked about that moniker, Barrett accepted it and stated that personalities are different and he always felt discipline was necessary.
He stated that he had a policy of only saying something once and he expected students to adhere to the rules. Barrett said that he knew the kids respected him, and he later admitted that some of them may have even been a little scared of him, but he prided himself in treating everyone the same.
One of the biggest contributions he made as superintendent was the construction of the elementary school which now bears his name.
He recalled how the school was in dire need of expansion, but they struggled to find a location that would accommodate not just their immediate need, but also future needs of the district.
After a short time, Barrett stated that he was approached by Mike Gwinn, who owned property on the eastern edge of town.
Barrett stated that Gwinn came to him and offered to trade 40 acres of his property for a farm near Story. Barrett added that the problem with making the deal was the school didn’t own the farm. Gwinn wouldn’t take a cash payment and then purchase the farm himself according to Barrett, so the school purchased the farm and traded it for the property that the elementary school sits on today.
Barrett commented that he lived and breathed the Mount Ida School and upon his retirement in 1989 missed it for a while, but he wouldn’t trade his time there for anything.
He admitted that he had a few job offers through the years, but nothing could take him away from his home.
Barrett is proud of what was accomplished during his time at the school and stated that he felt the school was in good hands.
Barrett wanted to thank the Mount Ida School Board members, administration, and anybody else who was involved in the decision to rename the elementary building in his name. He stated that he was deeply honored and proud of the fact that he was able to work at the school he loves so much.
Barrett was joined at the unveiling by his wife, Theda Barrett, his son, Randy Barrett, His granddaughter Randi Carr and her husband Josh Carr and his great grandson Barrett Carr. School Board members and Superintendent Hal Landrith was also on hand for the unveiling.
Students needing meningitis and tetanus vaccinations received
a notice from the school nurse at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.
Parents please make arrangements with our local health department
or your doctor's office to be compliant with Arkansas state law which
requires these immunizations.