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Brett Archer, shown here in 2009 at an open house, began a leave of absence from his job as Two Harbors High School principal this week. He will be training to be a State Farm Insurance agent. File photo.

Archer steps down

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Two Harbors High School principal Brett Archer, began a two-year leave of absence earlier this week to try his hand as an insurance agent.

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Archer has worked for the school district for almost 20 years, beginning in 1995 as a social studies teacher at William Kelley High School in Silver Bay. He taught there for five years before transferring to the same position in Two Harbors. He made the jump to administration in 2006 when he became the dean of students.

He was promoted to principal in 2010, but in 2012 he asked to move back to the dean of students position so he could work more closely with students. With a new superintendent, though, the school board decided to keep Archer as principal to avoid too much shuffling of administrative staff.

In his time as principal, Archer lent his support to many unique initiatives in the district. He was instrumental in the success of the robotics program at Two Harbors High School and helped bring a popular girls-only construction class to the school.

“One of the big highlights was his involvement in the community,” said superintendent Bill Crandall citing Archer’s work with Mesabi Range Community and Technical College to bring higher education to Two Harbors and Silver Bay. His persistence was vital in bringing a certified nursing assistant course to Two Harbors and welding and millwright programs to both Two Harbors and Silver Bay.

Archer brushes off the accolades. 

“I just happened to be the one that got to be there when people decided they wanted to make some changes,” he said.

Archer was replaced as principal by Jay Belcastro, a 2012 hire from Proctor that has served as the dean of students for the past two years. Crandall said it was always the school board’s intention to promote Belcastro to principal after he learned the ropes.

Teacher Julie Benson will fill the dean of students role for the remainder of the school year and a long-term dean will be hired this summer. If Archer chooses to return at any time within the next two years, he will take either the dean of students position or another open administration position.

For now, Archer is excited to start his training as a State Farm insurance agent.

“State Farm intrigues me because it’s another way to work with people,” he said, adding that he was approached with the opportunity and only decided to take it because he will be able to remain in Two Harbors.

Monday was his last day at THHS, and the students held a big send off, presenting him with a 2-by-3 foot signed thank you card.

“It made me feel guilty for leaving,” he said with a laugh. “If I miss it too much, I’m coming back.”

Crandall said his absence will be felt, but he leaves behind a strong legacy.

“Through his leadership, the school culture became stronger and more positive throughout the building,” he said.

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