Rickert ‘left his mark everywhere,’ according to colleagues; Longtime Southgate teacher dies at 65

Published 8:57 am Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dorran V. Rickert, 65

Dorran Rickert was known for his kindness and compassion, an instructor who  “took a long time to retire because, I think, he didn’t want to leave his family” of school colleagues and friends, said Cece Kroc, who worked with Rickert at Southgate Elementary School.

Rickert, 65, who taught at Southgate for 33 years and within the district for 41 years, died unexpectedly Saturday at his home.

“His co-workers were his family,” agreed Edwina Harder, who worked with Rickert beginning in 2009 when she was principal at Southgate. “His students were a part of that family; he delighted in meeting up with his former students, to see how they were doing.”

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Rickert was a native of Glencoe and came to Austin after teaching for one year in Woodlake, Minnesota.

Kroc said he primarily worked as a second grade instructor. In his last year with the district, he was an interventionist and worked with small groups of students building skills in reading.

Harder said she fielded calls from former colleagues on Monday, who just wanted to talk about their late friend.

“He was one of these guys who could hold a child’s attention, motivate them, was driven by data and always, always, did a nice job,” Harder said.

Kroc agreed.

“He was masterful,” she said, adding Monday was a sad day for many of his colleagues, as they learned of his death.

Rickert was also known as a ticket taker at any number of school events — his way, said Kroc, of following his former students who played sports.

His younger colleagues were always drawn to him, said Kroc, because “he was funny and so interesting. He was a great teacher who cared about kids.”

After he retired, he played cards with local seniors.

“My mother is 94, and played cards with him —and she’s heartbroken” that Rickert had passed, Kroc said. “He left his mark everywhere.”

Superintendent of Schools Dave Krenz met with Rickert, and others, for breakfast quite often.

“Even after he retired, he was tutoring kids, continued as a substitute teacher – he was just really interested in making sure kids were successful,” Krenz said.

The breakfast get-togethers were anything but professional, said Krenz — “mostly just to get together and talk nonsense and stuff, relax, rehash our weeks. He loved his family, who lived west (in the Brownton, Glencoe areas), but they were three, four hours away and he really did look upon his friends here as his family.”

“And, as a friend,” Krenz said, “He was always there for you.”

Services will be held Friday.