APS welcomes new principals

Published 4:11 pm Friday, July 9, 2021

Austin Public Schools announced this week the hiring of Ryan Barnick as the new principal at Neveln Elementary School and Derik Gustafson as the new principal at Southgate Elementary School.

“There were several applicants for these important roles,” said Austin Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joey Page. “We used a creative, challenging, and engaging process to identify the next leaders Neveln and Southgate Elementary Schools. Ryan and Derik bring several years of educational leadership to their new positions. We look forward to working with both our new elementary principals and believe they will do great things for the entire Austin community.”


Barnick will be taking over for outgoing Neveln principal David Wolff, who accepted a position at Winona State University at the end of the 2020-21 school year. Barnick has served as the assistant principal at Ellis Middle School for the past two years, but began his educational journey more than 15 years ago as a special education teacher in Minneapolis. His years as an educator have provided him with the diverse experiences and comprehensive skills to have a deep understanding of what students must learn and what characteristics they should develop to be successful.

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Barnick values the importance of collaborative leadership and equitable education for all learners.

“A leader must excel at developing relationships with both staff and students, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to begin working at Neveln Elementary,” he said.

Gustafson will be taking over for outgoing Southgate principal Katie Baskin, who was recently hired as the district’s Director of Teaching and Learning. Gustafson holds two Master’s Degrees in education from the University of Minnesota and has worked in the Austin Public School District for the last 15 years, most recently as an assistant principal at Austin High School.  During that time, he has worked with students and staff throughout the district to help guide and develop educational programs to foster success both in and out of the classroom.

Gustafson believes in the importance of building trust, respect, and safety with both students and staff.


“I have worked throughout my time at Austin Public Schools to create a welcoming and professional environment where students and staff can learn, grow, and succeed, and I’m excited to be able to continue the same work at Southgate Elementary,” he said.