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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Zimmerman

Center of Focus

Focus on the Fabulous

July 31, 2022

There has been quite a bit going on in the district over the summer months. The staff has been busy furthering their education, traveling, spending time with family, and growing their families! On-site, some major district projects are in the works! Here's a bit of a rundown on some of the things going on in our district.

Our Viking family has been growing and we have hired some amazing new staff members. I will take time over the next few weeks to introduce all of our new staff. The first new staff I would like to introduce was already a part of our Center team. Nicole Neufeld will be taking the helm as our new Center High School Principal. She has already jumped right in to get things ready for the

start of the year. Nicole has 16 years of experience in education. She began her career teaching special education at Sangre de Cristo Elementary, followed by two years teaching kindergarten at Haskin Elementary. From 2013 to late 2021, she served as the Associate Director of the Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley.

She returned to Center Schools in November of 2021 as the secondary special education teacher. Nicole attended the University of Colorado where she earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master’s degree in early childhood education. She and her husband Brian recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary and are the proud parents of two daughters.

When you get a chance, please congratulate Nicole and give her a warm welcome in this new position.

Our commitment to excellence is evident even in the summer. Staff members have taken advantage of various professional development opportunities to further their knowledge and expertise. Linda Donaldson, Katrina Ruggles, Krystal Bouet, Daniel Garcia, Steve Martinez, and Kristen Enquist attended the Restorative Justice conference in Chicago. They had the chance to see the sights and get some learning in! This conference provides a support system for educators, practitioners, and others interested in restorative and community justice. The NACRJ uses principles of social and restorative justice to assist educators, practitioners, and others to seek transformation in the ways harm and justice questions within the United States are addressed through prevention, repair, and healing.

The administrative team attended the 53rd CASE conference in Breckenridge this past week. We listened to some inspirational keynote speakers and attended a variety of breakout sessions. Sessions focused on effective leadership strategies, advocacy, policies, and legislation. These professional development opportunities keep us on top of current trends and informed on best practices in education.

Congratulations to Hanna Hays who received her Master’s degree from Western University in Creative Writing. She also had two of her poems published on -"Aspen Tree" and "chances are where we spread dad's ashes will burn down". They are definitely worth the read and pull at your heartstrings. What an accomplishment! Way to go Hanna!

More impressive accomplishements include Center staff being the first cohort to graduate from ASU with a mentor teaching endorsement! Eleven of our teachers participated in the first cohort of the ASU Mentor Program. Adams State in partnership with Center Schools received $82,500 in funding from the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) to launch a Teacher Mentor program. The underlying purpose of the Teacher Mentor program is to retain new teachers by increasing their access to effective mentors. Through the Teacher Mentor program, experienced teachers are prepared with the knowledge and skills required to serve as mentors for teacher candidates and newly employed teachers. To ensure the sustainability of the mentor program in our district and as an extension of that work, Anna Bishop and Mimi Dolan wrote and received funding from the state to continue that work. Our cognitive coaching mentors are Alex Magness, Tara Phillips, Joy Werner, JoAnn Lopez, Mimi Dolan, Kevin Hagan, Lindsay Stillwagon, Christine Mikeljack, Anna Bishop, and Kindra Rounds.

Power was turned off in the main building for the last two weeks in order for the new generator to be installed. The new generator will allow us to have power in the main building in the case of a power outage, and if you’ve worked in Center for any time at all, you know that this is somewhat of a common occurrence. This will strengthen the infrastructure of the district and be a support for the community.

Fast Forward

A number of our staff will be participating in the Retreat on the Rio this coming week. This is the next step in our district improvement efforts. This work started back in November with the application for the EASI grant. Our district was awarded the grant and began the work with the Colorado Education Initiative on the diagnostic review process. As you know, we’ve been doing a deep dive gathering different types of information from students, parents, staff, and community stakeholders. We are taking a comprehensive look at our district and we will be refining our efforts to ensure that we are providing the best education for our students, the best district for our community, and the best working environment for our staff. The retreat will run from Monday- Wednesday. I will keep everyone informed of the process and hope that each of you will want to be a part of the process along the way!

Upcoming Events

August 4th- Going away party for Mr. Jones- Reeds @ Cattails- 4:00- 6:00 pm

August 9th-

8:00 am- New Teacher Orientation

9:00- 3:00 pm-CHAMP and student registration

10:00 am- Superintendents’ Advisory Committee

3:00- 4:00 pm- Health physicals

6:00 pm- Regular BOE meeting

August 10th- All Staff Welcome Back

August 11th- Staff PD and Workday

August 15th- 1st Day for Students

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