Summit school district continues principal hirings at elementaries |

Summit school district continues principal hirings at elementaries

Kerry Buhler, who has served as Upper Blue Elementary's principal for the past 13 years, was named district superintendent on Thursday, March 10.
Ben Trollinger / |

The Summit School District continued a hiring spree on Monday, March 28, to replace several outgoing administrators, naming Kendra Carpenter the new principal of Dillon Valley Elementary after enlisting Laura Rupert for the same role at Frisco Elementary the week prior.

Carpenter is taking a promotion at Dillon Valley after previously serving as the school’s literary resource teacher and International Baccalaureate (IB) primary years program coordinator. The position is being vacated by Dillon Valley interim principal Sarah Adkins, who only intended to hold the position for one year and did not wish to pursue it permanently.

“I am honored to be the next principal of Dillon Valley, and I am very grateful for this opportunity,” Carperter said in a news release. “I am so very excited to continue our great work at Dillon Valley and partner with staff and families to make sure we are offering the best possible education for all of our students.”

She has been at Dillon Valley for more than 14 years, teaching bilingual kindergarten, third and fifth grades and in the IB role to go along with supporting the school’s Reading Recovery program. She has two sons who both attend Dillon Valley and is currently enrolled in the University of Denver’s master’s principal preparation program, which emphasizes educational leadership and policy studies.

Meanwhile, Rupert, presently a kindergarten teacher at Summit Cove Elementary, accepted the job at Frisco this past Tuesday, March 22, to replace outgoing principal Renea Hill, who is retiring at the end of this academic year. Rupert has been a teacher in the district since 2003 and in various forms of public education — from preschool and special education to high school — for approaching two decades. She’s anxious to get started in her new position.

“I’m most excited about being able to change my role from teaching children to helping teachers to do what they do best,” she said. “I really want to help empower teachers, so school is a better experience for all, students, parents and teachers. That’s really what’s school is about — it’s not just a building attended by students, but a whole community raising a new community of the future.”

She holds a bachelor’s in special education, a master’s in curriculum and instruction and, like Carpenter, is working toward a master’s at the University of Denver in educational leadership and policy studies as part of her principal preparation. She is also member of the district’s technology committee and is certified to perform Google teacher trainings.

The two principal hirings come off the news earlier this month of Upper Blue Elementary principal Kerry Buhler being named the district’s new superintendent following a two-month-long internal search that identified her as the chosen candidate. She was selected over fellow finalist Cathy Beck, the assistant superintendent of student learning and former Dillon Valley Elementary principal, for the position after current superintendent Heidi Pace announced her retirement after five years in January.

“My passion and commitment to this district continues to be a driving force for me,” Buhler previously told the Summit Daily. “As superintendent, I’ll have the opportunity to make an even bigger difference for our kids, our parents, our staff and our community.

“I’m really one of those people who thinks long term,” she added in an earlier interview. “We know that we’ve got plans for this year and next year and even five years out, but we’ve even got to plan further out than that. I think we do need to start looking at that within the next year, because the world is really moving faster than what we can really plan for. For me, it’s taking hopefully what we’ve accomplished in (current strategic plan) Vision 2020 and start to build on that now.”

She and Pace together made both selections of Rupert at Frisco Elementary and Carpenter at Dillon Valley following respective three-finalist public meet and greets. The district’s Board of Education will approve the choices at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 26.

“In recent history, we haven’t had superintendent and principal turnover to this extent,” said Julie McCluskie, the district’s director of communications. “While turnover certainly brings change, it can also bring opportunity. It’s an exciting time for the district to continue with that strong legacy of leadership. I think it’s great that we’re choosing people who are already part of our team and ready to commit to the future of Summit School District.”

Next up comes the task of replacing the departing Buhler for the lead administrative position at Upper Blue. The job is currently posted, and applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Friday, April 8. The first round of interviews will begin April 21, followed by a second on April 27. The public meet and greet with staff, parents and the local community will be held later that day, and the new hire named down the road.

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