Summit Middle School principal Joel Rivera named top middle school principal in Colorado |

Summit Middle School principal Joel Rivera named top middle school principal in Colorado

Summit Middle School principal Joel Rivera, right, visits with the family of an incoming sixth grader before school started in August.
File photo |


Monday, April 27

Summit High School, Girls Lacrosse vs. Eagle, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, April 28

Central Admin. Office, Board of Education Meeting, 5:30 p.m.

Dillon Valley Elementary, PYP Inquiry Night, 5 p.m.

Dillon Valley Elementary, PTSA, 6 p.m.

Summit High School, Boys Lacrosse vs. Aspen, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, April 29

Summit High School, Girls Lacrosse vs. Pine Creek, 4 p.m.

Friday, May 1

Summit Cove Elementary, PTSA, 8:45 a.m.

Summit Middle School principal Joel Rivera was recently recognized for outstanding leadership and chosen as the 2015 Colorado Middle Level Principal of the Year.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals sponsors the Principal of the Year program and awards middle and high school principals who succeed in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

“Joel Rivera is a dedicated and passionate leader who believes family engagement is key to student academic achievement,” said Heidi Pace, district superintendent. “He has the expectation that every student can and will achieve at high levels and has puts the appropriate supports into place to ensure student success.”

The Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals (CASSP), an affiliate of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and a chapter of Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), selected Rivera based on a rigorous selection process. Criteria included personal excellence, collaborative leadership, curriculum, instruction, assessment and personalization of learning opportunities for students.

“Any award or recognition Summit Middle School receives, whether as a group or individually, comes from the fact that students are being successful academically, socially and emotionally,” Rivera said. “So while I am delighted to have my name attached to this award, I truly believe this is a victory for everyone involved at SMS.”

CASE and CASSP will present Rivera with his award at an upcoming school event. He and other CASE award winners also will be recognized at an awards ceremony later this month, as well as at the 46th Annual CASE Education Leadership Convention this summer in Breckenridge.

Rivera is eligible for National Principal of the Year recognition, which will be announced later this year. He will represent Colorado and be honored along with other state winners in Washington, D.C. in early fall.

Dillon Valley Elementary receives $100K for playground

Dillon Valley Elementary School was recently awarded $106,209 to transform its aging playground into a haven for outdoor play in the Dillon community.

The playground serves Summit County’s only dual language school, where 54 percent of students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program, and is a recreation hub for neighborhood families.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) awarded grants to six Colorado public schools to help them create kid-designed, nature-based play areas that encourage more physical activity and inspire more outdoor learning.

The schools in Adams, Jefferson, Lake, Lincoln, Mesa and Summit counties initially received funds last fall to work with a design consultant team on master plans for their school yards. Each school designated a student task force committee to help influence the design.

GOCO invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created by voters in 1992, GOCO has funded more than 4,500 projects in all 64 counties without any tax support.

GOCO has previously awarded grants to 24 schools, serving more than 10,000 students, to improve aging playgrounds and add outdoor classroom spaces.

Peak School hosts game night fundraiser for animal shelter

The Peak School, the only private school in Summit County serving middle and high school students, will host a game night Friday, May 1, to benefit the Summit County Animal Shelter.

The fun will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the school, at 40 W. Main St. in Frisco. Games will include outdoor throwing games like cornhole and horseshoes, classic games such as Twister and Jenga, and a Wii Dance Dance Revolution 80s Dance Party.

The school suggests participants donate $5 for the animal shelter.

The private progressive school is no stranger to fundraisers.

In September, The Peak School launched its first annual development campaign and has raised more than $300,000. More than a third of that money was contributed by individuals and organizations not directly related to Peak, who value the progressive option for Summit County.

Much of the money raised will fund scholarship assistance for families unable to pay full tuition, and the remainder will help solidify the school financially and ensure its long-term viability.

Register for summer classes at Colorado Mountain College

Registration is now under way for summer classes held at Colorado Mountain College campuses in Breckenridge and Dillon and online. Many classes start the week of May 11, and others start throughout the semester.

Each household should receive a course schedule in the mail. More information and registration is available at or in Breckenridge, at 107 Denison Placer Road, and in Dillon, at 333 Fiedler Ave.

New students and those who haven’t taken a class during the past three semesters need to first apply to Colorado Mountain College online or in person if they want to take a credit class. Students who have taken a credit class within the past three semesters and students only interested in continuing education classes may register for classes in person or online, or by phone, fax or email.

For more information, call 970-453-6757 in Breckenridge or 970-468-5989 in Dillon, or 1-800-621-8559. Information about select bachelor’s degrees is online at

Send local education news to reporter Alli Langley at

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