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More than 200 educators in the Jefferson County School District recently closed out their careers at the end of the school year.
Among those retiring were 18 administrators and more than 80 teachers along with paraprofessionals, bus drivers, secretaries, custodians and counselors.
One longtime teacher leaving for retirement is Pattie Nelson, orchestra teacher in the nine Arvada West/Ralston Valley area elementary schools for the past 25 years.
“Her program is amazing, and she has been a perennial leader among Jeffco music teachers,” said Amy Woodley, instrumental music teacher for the Arvada area. “Her students adore her and it’s hard to find anyone who went through those schools who does not know who she is. She is a champion for lifelong musicianship, and she directs the Jeffco Community Band which her father founded.”
Retirees also include Wheat Ridge High School Principal Griff Wirth along with assistant principals Nick DeSimone and Ken Trager. Josh Cooley, former assistant principal at Rangeview High School in Aurora, has been hired as the new principal at Wheat Ridge.
Cooley is one of 23 new principals in Jeffco for the 2017-18 school year. Nineteen are from within Jeffco and one is returning to the district. The other three come from Denver Public Schools, Aurora Public Schools and Garfield RE2.
Among the Jeffco veterans is Janace Fischer, former principal of Pleasant View Elementary in Golden, which closed its doors on the last day of school on May 23. Fischer will take the lead at Wilmore Davis Elementary in Wheat Ridge.
In addition, 10 assistant principals have been promoted to a principalship and three are taking the reins at their current schools.
Former assistant principal Pam Yoder will take over for retiring principal Maureen Curtiss at Dennison Elementary in Lakewood and former assistant principal Tom Gardner will take over for retiring principal Sharon Ivie at Green Mountain Elementary also in Lakewood.
At Lakewood High School, Dan Bock, former assistant principal, will take the lead as principal next year following the retirement of Lisa Ritchey.
Six principals aren’t exactly new, since they have served as interim principal for the past year. Those principals are Lori Young at Colorow Elementary in South Jeffco, Tim Vialpando at Evergreen Middle School, Melissa Karp at Hutchinson Elementary in Lakewood, Brenda Fletcher at Moore Middle in Arvada and Donna Neill at Ralston Elementary in Golden. Andrew Schulz, who was serving as interim principal at Bell Middle in Golden has been hired as the incoming principal at Summit Ridge Middle School in South Jeffco.
Michele DeAndrea-Austin, former principal at Kyffin Elementary in Golden, will be the new principal at Bell Middle.
Also in Golden, Jeena Williams, former principal at Riverside Middle School in New Castle, will be the new principal at Manning Middle School.
At the elementary level, seven more schools will get new principals.
Three Creeks K-8 in Arvada will open to kindergarten through sixth grade this fall, with Laura Wilson as the principal. The school will add seventh and eighth grades over a two-year period.
Also in Arvada, former Arvada West High Assistant Principal Deb Pearce will be principal at Peck Elementary. Former Peck Elementary Principal Matt Hilbert will be the new principal at Warder Elementary following the retirement of Principal Rita Throckmorton. At Weber Elementary, Lisa Malloy, former assistant principal at Deane Elementary in Lakewood, will take the lead as principal following Kelly Curran’s retirement.
Chalee McDougal, former assistant principal at West Woods Elementary in Arvada, will be principal at Witt Elementary in Westminster.
And in Wheat Ridge, Trina “TJ” McManus will be principal at Stevens Elementary.
In South Jeffco, Andrea Cosens takes the lead at Normandy Elementary after Rebecca Chao retired. And Stephanie Cavallaro will be principal at Stony Creek Elementary following Juan De La Garza’s retirement. Also at Summit Ridge Middle School, Andrea Schulz, former assistant principal at Bell Middle in Golden, will be the new principal.
Three alternative schools in Jeffco also have new leaders.
Megan Martinez, former assistant principal at Deane Elementary, will be principal at Connections Learning Center in Golden. The Jeffco 21st Century Virtual Academy will be led by Bernie Hohman, former principal of the Rocky Mountain Digital Academy in Denver. And Warren Tech Assistant Principal Arlie Huffman will step into the principal’s shoes next year.
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