Johanna Kugler: Advocating for the whole child, team and community |

Johanna Kugler: Advocating for the whole child, team and community

Johanna Kugler
Summit School District board candidate
Johanna Kugler

I’m Johanna Kugler: a mother, wife, educator, volunteer, community member and hobby farmer.

I work at Open Arms Childcare & Preschool wearing many different hats: educator, coach, parent trainer and back-of-the-house expert, including licensing, public and environmental health regulations, grant writing, billing and student/teacher files. My husband and I have been in Summit County since 2007. We came for the summer and fell in love with Summit, deciding to stay. My husband proposed at Sapphire Point, we have our house in Dillon Valley, and we have three children who attend Dillon Valley Elementary.

As a family, we are hobby farmers with our chickens and huge garden. Currently, we are in the middle of our annual fall canning, making jams, peaches, salsa, spaghetti sauce, sauerkraut, red cabbage, soups and vegetables. The whole family participates year-round in these chores of feeding animals, cleaning coops, picking peas and turning compost. In our spare time, my children partake in Alpine Dance Academy, Lake Dillon Theatre Co., Summit Strikers/High Country Soccer, Summit Baseball, Dillon Community Church and all the extras at the school.

I have a masters in administrative leadership and policies studies with an emphasis in early childhood. My undergraduate degree is in sociology, and I have a minor in world religions. I have an early childhood credential Level VI, the highest level, and I am large-center director qualified. In 2020, I won Best Virtual Teacher in the Summit Daily News contest. I have completed Leadership Summit and The Summit Foundation’s Nonprofit Resources for Grantees coaching program. I am reliable in multiple child assessment and screening and curriculum tools, implementing social-emotional frameworks, and trained in assessing early childhood administration systems.

At the international level, I attended Chaing Mai University, worked at Port Chulalongkorn University teaching Buddhist Monks, volunteered at a Chaing Mai school for the deaf, and spent months volunteering in and around the Chiang Rai area with woman and children being rescued out of the sex-trade industry.

Within the U.S., I am a past AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team member. My service time was in the south after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, restoring school buildings for reopening, and volunteering after my shifts tutoring children and working at food banks.

At the state level, I am an It’s About Kids Summit County representative since 2010 through the Colorado Children’s Campaign. It’s About Kids has three areas of expertise: early childhood, K-12 and health working simultaneously for children with legislation, policy and implementation. Each year, I help bring the Colorado Kid’s Count data to our community. I sit on the Buell Alumni Leadership Council for the Buell Foundation working particularly on the continuing professional education for leaders and professionals.

At a local level, I am honored to serve as the parent-teacher-student association vice president at Dillon Valley. I was appointed to the Summit School District Board of Education in July. Over the past 14 years, I have been on many committees and work groups that have directly impacted the children and families in Summit County.

Occupation: Open Arms Childcare & Preschool educator

Years in Summit County: 14

Family: Husband and children Lilia, 10; Lars, 8; and Kenneth 6

Civic involvement: District Accountability Committee member, housing and support staff subcommittees member, Dillon Community Church food bank volunteer, Sunday school teacher, Community Partners for Children co-chair, Breckenridge Childcare Task Force member, Lake & Summit County Early Childhood Council member, Early Childhood Professional Development Committee member, School Readiness Committee member and literacy ambassador for Mile High

Priority No. 1: Whole child

We must meet every child where they are at academically, cognitively, socially/emotionally and physically. Each child deserves to have the tools, resources and support systems in place to succeed. We need researched-based holistic assessments along with test scores to see child growth. Children are successful in any path that they take if they are: courageous, curious, globally aware, prepared and growth oriented.

Priority No. 2: Whole team

We must build a true collaborative partnership with parents (expert on the child), educators (expert in the classroom) and children (expert on themselves). Communication is key to this partnership. We need common definitions about curriculum, strategic plans, areas for growth and expectations. All voices should be at the table and heard, knowing we all have the best intentions for each child. Once the core basics of learning are taught, such as reading, it is not the schools’ job to teach a child what to think but rather how to think. The whole team has an active role putting the child’s education first.

Priority No. 3: Whole community

Teachers, support staff, administrators, children and families are part of Summit School District’s community, and that is one-third of Summit County’s community. Summit County should hold accountable and have pride for the district. The district should contribute to community-needs discussions, such as housing, transportation, wrap care, wages, land use, etc. For this county to thrive, there needs to be partakers at all levels.

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