With just six days left on the job, Detroit Lakes Public Schools Business Manager Ryan Tangen was in a reflective mood on Monday, June 21.
"We love this community so much, and transition is hard," said Tangen, adding that his wife Rory will continue her job at West River Dental through the end of July, while their children — Isaac, Sarah and Caleb — are soaking up as much summer fun with their friends as they can before the Tangen family makes the final move to their new home in Buffalo, Minn.
As for Tangen himself, he doesn't get much transition time between his new and old jobs; his last day at Detroit Lakes is June 30, while he starts his new position in Buffalo on July 1.
"That's typical of school district contracts," he said.
Though he has been employed by the Detroit Lakes district for the past seven years, Tangen has actually spent the entirety of his 24-year professional career in the community.
"When I first came to Detroit Lakes, I was in the building next door (to the school administration building) for five years," Tangen said, adding that he worked for the Minnesota State Auditor's Office, mainly auditing county governments in the area.
"Then I went to the county, first as treasurer, and then auditor-treasurer," he said. Altogether, he spent 12 years with Becker County.
Then, in 2014, he became the business manager at Detroit Lakes schools — and as he told the members of the Detroit Lakes School Board on Monday morning, he found his true calling in school finance.
Though he and his family have loved their years in Detroit Lakes, Tangen said, he decided to take a chance on the opportunity to work in a school district that is roughly twice the size of Detroit Lakes.
"It's also about timing, and location," he added, noting that with Isaac just about to enter high school, and Sarah finishing up her high school career in Detroit Lakes (Caleb will soon be starting his sophomore year at South Dakota State University in Brookings), it seemed like a good time for him to contemplate a career change.
In addition, Buffalo is considerably nearer to Northfield, Minn., where Sarah will be starting her freshman year at St. Olaf College in the fall.
"We'll be much closer for attending her (basketball) games," he said.
Tangen also has a brother and sister who live close to their new home, he added. But at the same time, leaving the community he has called home for nearly a quarter century isn't easy.
"It's exciting, but also bittersweet," he said. "This is a great community, and a great school district. We've got a lot of wonderful friends and acquaintances here."
And with relatives on both sides of the family still making their home in the area, Tangen said they will likely be frequent visitors to their former hometown.
"Detroit Lakes is an awesome community," he said. "It's not one that you wouldn't want to come back and visit."
Despite the plethora of reasons to stay, however, the Tangens are also looking forward to new challenges.
"We're excited to see what the next chapter brings," he said.