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West Grand superintendent to participate in professional development academy


 

Elizabeth Bauer was named West Grand School District superintendent on March 9.
West Grand/Courtesy Photo

Elizabeth Bauer will receive instruction to advance a real-world and pragmatic teaching approach to improving school district leadership

The Colorado Education Initiative has selected 14 Colorado education leaders to participate in the second year of the initiative’s Rural Superintendent Academy. Elizabeth Bauer, West Grand’s superintendent and high school principal, was selected to attend the academy.

The academy will start this July and continue through April 2023. This professional development opportunity, offered through support from the Boettcher Foundation, is designed to advance a practical, real-world and pragmatic approach to improving school district leadership, while fostering professional relationships among participants.



Challenges faced by rural districts like West Grand are unique. The academy is designed to deepen leadership abilities and focus on relationship-building among students and families, the community, school board, and staff.

“Having a tight network of trusted colleagues to lean in and draw energy from is critical for sustainability and success of the superintendent role, which (the initiative) believes is the loneliest seat in any school district,” said Colorado Education Initiative Vice President of Implementation Alex Carter. “The (academy) is a timely opportunity to invest in community-centered and future-focused leaders who share passion and commitment to exploring what’s best and what’s next in rural education.”



Carter will partner with George Welsh, a 25-year veteran superintendent with extensive experience in rural settings, to facilitate the 2022-2023 academy.

“I look forward to supporting this second cohort by applying lessons learned from the first so that each Fellow gains the skills and resources needed to positively transform the schools and communities they serve,” Welsh said. “This remains important to me because when I first became a rural superintendent in 1997, I was ill-equipped to do the job well. It took me 10 years to understand the role and drive my community forward. Too often this is the norm in rural Colorado.”

The second academy cohort includes superintendents and principals from an array of districts across the state, including the new and current superintendents in West Grand, Roaring Fork, Summit and North Park.

Two members of the cohort will also be awarded the Dr. Cile Chavez Fellowship, which provides financial assistance from the Boettcher Foundation. The Fellowship is intended to support participation and inspire diverse, under-represented education leaders to join the academy, bringing their unique perspectives to the helm of Colorado districts.

“I believe this world is more and more diverse. And recognizing and appreciating diversity will only enhance the lives of students and their journeys in life,” said Chavez, a longtime Colorado education leader and retired Boettcher Foundation Trustee. “To value the merits of a diverse field of superintendents will only enhance the creativity of services, programs, solutions, and ideas.”


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