Granby " Nancy Karas takes reins of East Grand schools
July 1, 2008
Nancy Karas plans to attend construction meetings all day today to kick off her first day as East Grand School District superintendent.
Monday night the former East Grand Middle School principal officially accepted the keys from former Superintendent Robb Rankin. Even though school’s been out for summer for the East Grand Middle schoolers since the beginning of June, Karas has been working side-by-side with Rankin every day, getting ready to take on her new responsibilities.
“I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to work with Robb,” she said. “We’ve been able to go through some of the nitty-gritty … It’s going to just make that transition so much easier.”
Karas has been employed by the district for more than two decades, most recently serving as East Grand Middle School principal for 15 years.
“My entire career has been in East Grand Schools,” said the 1977 Middle Park High School graduate.
She started her career at Granby Elementary School in 1984 as a physical education teacher. She then moved to Middle Park High School to be a physical education teacher and a counselor, and later joined East Grand Middle School as a counselor.
She is replacing Rankin, who had been superintendent for 12 years after serving as principal of Granby Elementary School for nine years.
Rankin said he is leaving the district in “very good hands.”
“She’s (Karas) a great listener and problem-solver,” he said. “She will do the job better than I did.”
Karas said she will miss the middle school’s students and staff.
“My favorite part was helping kids take responsibility … for the choices they make,” she said. “I love working with the kids.
“I enjoyed working with all the staff and supporting them to help them be the best teachers they could be … We were always a school that wanted to be out in front, and moving forward at all times.”
She said she still plans to be “visible” at the schools.
Karas said her new job will be challenging but she is also excited about the responsibilities it will entail.
About 1,350 students are enrolled in the district’s six schools: Indian Peaks Charter, Fraser Elementary, Granby Elementary, Grand Lake Elementary, East Grand Middle School and Middle Park High. The district employs about 180 staff members and has a $13 million budget.
Karas’ goal is to “create a sense of family” and to work closely with the district’s new principals, she said.
“That’s the piece I’m really excited about,” she said. “It’s going to take time and patience and training, but I feel very good about it.”
Except for Indian Peaks, each school in the district has a new principal.
Karas said her longtime residency in Grand County is beneficial and that she’s “proven” to the community her interest is serving the students and schools.
She said she would like to expand the International Baccalaureate program and to move off of the “flat line test scores” and onto “schools of excellence.”
Before accepting the position she did a lot of soul searching.
“This was a real conscious choice,” Karas said. “I’m ready ” it’s time.”
Her family is pleased about her new position too.
“They’re very excited and they’re very proud,” Karas said. “They understand that there’s a lot of political pressure that comes with a position like this.”
Her husband Jim teaches social studies at East Grand Middle School. They live in Granby and have two children who live in Denver: Jennifer, a 2000 Middle Park High School graduate; and Ryan, a 2002 Middle Park High School graduate.
Karas received her superintendent license from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. She received a physical education and accounting degree from Western State College and also received her master’s degree in K-12 counseling.
She earned her master’s degree in education leadership from the University of Phoenix.