Former Best of Grand teacher leaves Granby Elementary
The East Grand School District Board accepted the resignation of kindergarten teacher Kelley Devore June 7, along with the resignations of three other staff. Devore, the only teacher in that group, will teach at Gudy Gaskill Elementary School in Littleton next year.
Devore spent nine years at Granby Elementary School and won Best of Grand’s K-8 teacher of the year award in 2018. She originally taught 4th grade, but moved to kindergarten after a year. Devore said she will miss the Grand County and Granby communities.
“My heart will be here forever,” Devore said. “Grand County was my first move to Colorado. I didn’t stop in big-city Denver or anything like that. I came straight to the mountains, and the community of Granby and Grand County in general is unmatched.”
Before teaching, Devore worked in banking and did volunteer work with children. One of her coworkers saw her interact with the kids and told her she had missed her calling in life — to be a teacher. She began her teaching career at Granby Elementary.
A Mountain Parks Electric grant program introduced Devore to project-based learning, which she described as using an engineering design process in the classroom and having kids struggle through real-world problems. Devore said younger kids can do simplified versions of project-based learning, like when her kindergarteners did a unit on the gingerbread man.
“They had to build a bridge for the gingerbread man to cross the river so he didn’t have to ride the fox,” Devore said. “My kids made blueprints and plans, and then they tested and they failed, and then they had to replan and retest. So it’s just a really rich way for kids to learn.”
Devore implemented project-based and STEM-focused learning in her classroom and gave presentations about the methods to the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The board consists of seven school districts in Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties. It hosts a yearly conference for educators to learn best practices from each other.
Her love of project-based learning and STEM led Devore to her new position. A friend sent her an application for a position at Gudy Gaskill Elementary, a new school opening next fall. Devore said the school has a special focus on project-based learning and STEM.
“The position that was open was for a teacher to run their STEM lab and run project-based learning in the school and help to coach and collaborate in the school around that,” Devore said. “I just thought that that was kind of a dream of mine, to be able to take something that I love so much and spread it throughout a whole school.”
Devore said she received her job offer during the last week of school at Granby Elementary, meaning she put in her resignation late in the year. She said she would have liked to give the school more time to find a replacement for her.
“This opportunity totally fell in my lap,” Devore said. “I wasn’t looking for this. I wasn’t looking to leave.”
Frank Reeves will retire from his position as the East Grand School District Superintendent on July 1, but he met Devore when he started six years ago. He said Devore was one of his favorite teachers to sit-in on because she did not seem threatened by him and had amazing energy and activities for her kids.
“In my experience, Kelley (Devore) is one of the best kindergarten teachers I’ve ever seen,” Reeves said. “That’s a unique age group to teach, and she did it as good as I’d seen anyone do it.”
The class of fourth graders that Devore taught her first year at Granby Elementary graduated high school this year. Devore went to their graduation and said she hopes to go to her kindergarteners’ ceremony one day. At the graduation, Devore said she saw a family that has four kids she taught at Granby Elementary.
“They wanted to take pictures with me,” Devore said. “I said ‘Well, you guys are going to want a picture of just your family. You don’t want me in all of your pictures.’ Their mom told me, ‘You are our family.’”
Devore said she feels grateful for the school family she found over the last nine years.
“Grand County is a wonderful place to be,” Devore said. “It’s a wonderful place to raise a family. It’s a wonderful place to live, and I feel honored that I’ve been able to serve so many families. I’ve been a part of this community.”
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