Schools welcome new faces on staff

Seven teachers hired as turnover declines

New school staff members, including seven teachers, greeted students Tuesday, the first day of classes in Mancos.

Superintendent Brian Hanson was happy to report less turnover than last year, when the district hired 13 teachers. He attributed the change to proactive mentoring by lead teachers in all the schools.

"It helped dramatically," he said.

The middle and high school had almost full retention with the exception of Amy Morrison, the high school Spanish and drama teacher.

One of the lead teachers for the high school, Cathrine Prenot, said she worked to create an environment where the teachers were supported.

"They knew their work was valued," she said.

The lead teacher roles will be maintained, but they will be scaled back now that Adam Priestley has started as the middle and high school principal. She said the lead teachers would be focusing on professional development and would not have as many administrative duties.

The one role that the district did struggle to fill was the school nurse position, Hanson said.

A licensed practical nurse was hired to fill the role at the last minute. The district did not get any applicants when it advertised for an registered nurse. The lack of an attractive salary was identified at the July board meeting as the main problem.

At Monday night's school board meeting, Hanson said that an LPN would be able to complete all the duties of a registered nurse except signing off on the health care plans that go with an Individualized Education Program for special-education students.

Hanson said the LPN may be able to write the plans and have them approved by registered nurses in the Durango school district.

Connie Small

Teaching: Fourth grade

Background in teaching: Worked as a substitute teacher in the Mancos District since 2004

Education: Fort Lewis

Hometown: Farmington

Why are you happy to join the staff: The school district is family oriented and positive. Enlargephoto

Connie Small Teaching: Fourth grade Background in teaching: Worked as a substitute teacher in the Mancos District since 2004 Education: Fort Lewis Hometown: Farmington Why are you happy to join the staff: "The school district is family oriented and positive."

Drew Pearson

Teaching: Elementary PE and Gifted and Talented

Background in teaching: Check and connect mentor at Cortez Middle School, teacher at Manaugh Elementary, administrative support

Education: Degree in religion and theology from Wayland Baptist University, master's in elementary education from Liberty University

Hometown: Cortez

Goals for the year: To see the GT program continue to build. Enlargephoto

Drew Pearson Teaching: Elementary PE and Gifted and Talented Background in teaching: Check and connect mentor at Cortez Middle School, teacher at Manaugh Elementary, administrative support Education: Degree in religion and theology from Wayland Baptist University, master's in elementary education from Liberty University Hometown: Cortez Goals for the year: "To see the GT program continue to build."

Holly Figueroa

Teaching: Title I Reading Specialist

Background in teaching: 10 years at Park Elemetary in Durango

Education: Mesa State, Grand Junction, master's in reading from Regis University

Hometown: Mancos

Favorite thing about teaching: My passion is teaching reading, so I'm really looking forward to working with Mancos students in literacy. Enlargephoto

Holly Figueroa Teaching: Title I Reading Specialist Background in teaching: 10 years at Park Elemetary in Durango Education: Mesa State, Grand Junction, master's in reading from Regis University Hometown: Mancos Favorite thing about teaching: "My passion is teaching reading, so I'm really looking forward to working with Mancos students in literacy."

Kaitlin Ludwick

Teaching: Kindergarten

Background in teaching: Full-time substitute for six months

Education: Fort Lewis College

Hometown: Houston

Favorite thing about teaching: You catch yourself smiling, and you're not sure why and then you remember a moment in the day. Enlargephoto

Kaitlin Ludwick Teaching: Kindergarten Background in teaching: Full-time substitute for six months Education: Fort Lewis College Hometown: Houston Favorite thing about teaching: "You catch yourself smiling, and you're not sure why and then you remember a moment in the day."

Liza Eschallier

Teaching: Second grade 

Background in teaching: Two years at Mesa Elementary in Cortez

Education: University of Connecticut and the University of Colorado in Denver

Hometown: Woodbury, Calif.

Favorite thing about teaching: I enjoy getting kids excited about learning and watching them grow every day. Enlargephoto

Liza Eschallier Teaching: Second grade Background in teaching: Two years at Mesa Elementary in Cortez Education: University of Connecticut and the University of Colorado in Denver Hometown: Woodbury, Calif. Favorite thing about teaching: "I enjoy getting kids excited about learning and watching them grow every day."

Martha Endres

Teaching: English language learners

Background in teaching: Ran a day care and preschool for 7 years in Durango, substitute taught for one year

Education: Fort Lewis College, master's of curriculum and instruction at University of Phoenix

Hometown: Rico

Goals for the year: My goal is to learn my job and get to know the members of the community. Enlargephoto

Martha Endres Teaching: English language learners Background in teaching: Ran a day care and preschool for 7 years in Durango, substitute taught for one year Education: Fort Lewis College, master's of curriculum and instruction at University of Phoenix Hometown: Rico Goals for the year: "My goal is to learn my job and get to know the members of the community."

Amanda Wyman

Teaching: Special Education para-professional 

Background in teaching: First year as a para-professional

Hometown: Mancos

What lead you to join the staff: I had wanted to work at the school, I had three kids at the school. Enlargephoto

Amanda Wyman Teaching: Special Education para-professional Background in teaching: First year as a para-professional Hometown: Mancos What lead you to join the staff: "I had wanted to work at the school, I had three kids at the school."

Cathy Epps

Position: Elementary Principal

Background: 20 years in education, starting 11th year in Re-6

Education: Bachelor's in elementary education and all areas of special education, master's in bilingual and multi-cultural education for Northern Arizona University

Hometown: Phoenix

Goals for the year: To really build upon peer coaching systems for professional development. Enlargephoto

Cathy Epps Position: Elementary Principal Background: 20 years in education, starting 11th year in Re-6 Education: Bachelor's in elementary education and all areas of special education, master's in bilingual and multi-cultural education for Northern Arizona University Hometown: Phoenix Goals for the year: "To really build upon peer coaching systems for professional development."

Adam Priestley

Position: Principal, grades 6-12

Background: Two years middle and high school science, five years in exceptional student services

Education: Fort Lewis College, master's in special education at Grand Canyon University, master's in educational leadership at Western Governors University

Hometown: Norwood

Goals for the year: To come together as parents, teachers and administration to find a way to start moving up toward high academic skills. Enlargephoto

Adam Priestley Position: Principal, grades 6-12 Background: Two years middle and high school science, five years in exceptional student services Education: Fort Lewis College, master's in special education at Grand Canyon University, master's in educational leadership at Western Governors University Hometown: Norwood Goals for the year: "To come together as parents, teachers and administration to find a way to start moving up toward high academic skills."

Laura Prow

Teaching: High school Spanish, English II, yoga and drama

Background: Two years in Flagstaff, Ariz.; two years in the Peace Corps

Education: Fort Lewis College, master's from Northern Arizona University

Hometown: Northborough, Mass.

Favorite thing about teaching: I love empowering the students. Enlargephoto

Laura Prow Teaching: High school Spanish, English II, yoga and drama Background: Two years in Flagstaff, Ariz.; two years in the Peace Corps Education: Fort Lewis College, master's from Northern Arizona University Hometown: Northborough, Mass. Favorite thing about teaching: "I love empowering the students."