New principals step up in East Grand as school year begins
Grand County, CO Colorado
The East Grand School District has new administrators in four of its five schools. The following introduces each of them to the community.
Middle Park High School assistant principal/athletic Director
A former 14th Judicial District Juvenile Diversion Officer and West Grand Principal has taken the post of Middle Park High School’s Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.
Todd Bittner of Granby has jumped districts to simply “increase professional growth” at a larger school, he said. His own two children are both graduates of East Grand School District.
Bittner served as a Juvenile Diversion officer in the court system from 1997 until 2005, then oversaw the West Grand Alternative School, part of the West Grand School District for non-traditional students, from 2005 to 2008, and served at West Grand Schools as career counselor, Dean of Students, then West Grand High School principal for the 2010-2011 school year.
Bittner said he is excited for the opportunity to oversee programs both athletic and non-athletic. “I’m interested in creating a well-rounded student,” he said.
He does not plan on dwelling on decisions that were made among recent budget cuts that affected East Grand athletic and extra-curricular programs. Decisions, he said, are made as a team within the school district.
“I’ll focus on the activities that are currently in front of me,” he said.
A double amputee originally from Williamsport, Pa., Bittner lost his legs from a birth defect. He was recruited in the late 1980s by the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, and he raced on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team until 1997.
Schools, Bittner said, serve as the “heartbeat of a community. Having all of our energies and passions going toward the development of our kids only benefits the community.”
East Grand Middle School principal
An East Grand Middle School 6th grade English teacher has accepted the position of principal at the school.
Jenny Rothboeck is originally from Whidbey Island, Wash., and attended Whitman College in Wala Wala, Wash. She taught two years before moving to Colorado, where she started teaching in Grand County. Middle School English was her subject for seven years, during which she achieved her master’s degree in curriculum instruction and earned an administrative license from Adams State College in Alamosa.
Last year, she completed intern hours under former principal Jeff Verosky.
“I’m really excited and enthusiastic about this position,” Rothboeck said. “I’ll do everything I can to do the best job I can.”
The district as a whole has been welcoming, helpful and supportive, she said.
Her first goal is to build a schedule that fits the needs of all students of all levels and needs – and with a staff that is “willing to do what’s best for kids and willing to have the best school we can” – that first goal is bound to be within reach.
To go from teacher to principal in the same district, “it’s a really good opportunity and adventure for me,” she said.
Granby Elementary School principal
Coming from a charter school professional background, Dr. David Rizor is the new Granby Elementary School Principal.
A native of North Park, Rizor moved to Middle Park on Aug. 14 from Volcano, Hawaii, where he spent the last seven years as director of the Volcano School of Arts and Sciences, located next to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park with the active Kilauea volcano and the massive Mauna Loa volcano.
At his first East Grand School Board Meeting on Aug. 1, just a few days after his arrival to the area, Rizor said he was “excited to be back in the mountains,” and is looking forward to living in a place “where there is heat in the buildings.” Even though he lived on the island of Hawaii, he said, the winters did get cold especially when the sky was filled with clouds. Some nights got down to freezing, with winter temperatures in his home at 50 degrees with 95 percent humidity. But the island’s dwellings all lacked indoor heat.
Rizor moved back to Colorado to be nearer his wife Tina, who for two years has been caring for her mother in Fort Collins. “Granby to Fort Collins is much closer than Hawaii to Fort Collins,” Rizor said.
Prior to moving to Hawaii, Rizor was the science coordinator for Larimer County School District in Cheyenne, Wyo., and had been employed in North Park as a science teacher at the middle school. Before that he helped to develop environmental education curriculum as an instructor at the University of Wyoming, and he taught classes there on science and environmental education.
Fraser Valley Elementary School principal
James Chamberlin of Granby is now full-time principal at Fraser Elementary School.
The former director of student achievement and part-time Fraser principal of the 2010-2011 school year took the position to bring “stability and continuity” to the school for both staff and students, he said.
“This building has had so much turnover in leadership, I felt it was important for there to be some continuity for staff, the students and the leadership in the building,” he said.
Fraser students tragically lost their principal three years ago to a fatal car accident, then had a temporary principal, then a longer-term hire for 1.5 years. He and retired contracted principal Maureen Graff shared principal responsibilities last year. Chamberlin’s former position of the district’s director of student achievement was eliminated in recent budget cuts.
Chamberlin was raised in Lakewood, and lived in Steamboat Springs for 19 years. He worked his way up in the Yampa Valley school system from a social studies and Spanish teacher and varsity soccer coach to middle school and high school principal positions. He earned his doctorate in education at Colorado State University. One wouldn’t guess Chamberlin started out his professional journey owning a deejay company – an unsuccessful one, he said. “That’s why I’m in education now.”
Chamberlin’s wife Amy teaches at the middle school, and they have two children who attend preschool and third grade at Granby Elementary.
The principal acknowledges the Fraser community’s strong parental involvement in education, and his goals for the upcoming school year align with districtwide goals, he said, which are improved community communications and relations, student achievement and a positive school culture.
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