Barry DePaoli looking forward to free time in retirement

Now retired Barry DePaoli (left) shares laugh with his family during his retirement party on May 13 at Benson Vineyards Estate Winery. Courtesy Tim Sullivan

CHELAN - Barry DePaoli, former superintendent of the Lake Chelan School District, officially retired July 1. DePaoli said that he had been with the Lake Chelan School District for 22 years and taught in British Columbia for 13 years. DePaoli said that he feels that it is a good time for him to retire.
“I feel like it’s a good time for me and the district. We’re in a really good financial position. And I feel like where we are at strategically as well it is a good time to transition for the district,” he said. “Some of it is me really wanting to take better care of myself and enjoy good years of retirement.”
DePaoli said that he has a cabin up in British Columbia, where he grew up, and is looking forward to going up there and reconnecting with his family. He relocated from British Columbia to Chelan because his wife grew up in Chelan and she decided to make a career move to be back in the area.  DePaoli worked in the hotel industry for a few years before getting back into education and working for a GED program.
From there, he took a position as an alternative education teacher, then worked as a middle school principal and then as a high school principal.  After that, DePaoli finally took the superintendent position.  While he had no definite plans to stay in Chelan when he first got here, he said he has certainly enjoyed it.
From time to time, DePaoli said that he receives emails from former students or sees them in town and that it is exciting to learn about what they are doing and where they are going.  He said that Lake Chelan School District is special because it was ahead of its time in building relationships with students, which is still a big focus now, especially after COVID.
“I go to a lot of the senior presentations and students often comment about how fortunate they are to be able to go to our schools and really know our teachers on a personal level,” he said. “So I think that is probably one of the biggest gifts that our district has, is just the relationships we have with our students.”
DePaoli isn’t worried about how his students will fare with him gone because he says the staff at Lake Chelan School District is very supportive of students.  He said they have a good counseling department in place and that the district focuses on social and emotional learning.
Besides heading up to British Columbia, DePaoli said that he will pursue his hobbies and spend more time with his wife. He enjoys dabbling in carpentry and woodworking as well as cycling. He said that he is looking forward to having less responsibilities and isn’t worried about how he will spend all his extra free time.
DePaoli has a niece in Australia that he wants to visit and plans to stay involved in the schools and community.  He plans to help out with levies or anything that he can do to support the schools. In the future, he said that it is possible that he would run for school board or do consulting work, but he wants to take his first year of retirement as a complete break.
While he is looking forward to not having to come into work every Monday and having more time, DePaoli said that he will miss the students and employees of the Lake Chelan School District.
“I’m extremely grateful for the people I have worked with here. It has been a real privilege to serve the district,” he said. “I just want to thank our community, there've been a lot of really great parents. I want to thank our kids. When you are around young people, you remain young.”

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