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Last updated 10:43AM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
School Bells Ringing, New Super On The Job
(2008-08-12)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Summer comes to an end starting this week for area school students.
Area school systems begin their 2008-2009 school year starting later this week and continuing through early September.
Durango's year begins under new leadership.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

OWEN: IT'S BEEN EXCITING, I'VE REALLY ENJOYED GETTING TO KNOW SOME OF THE DIFERENT PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY AND ALSO GETTING READY FOR THE PRINCIPALS AND THE TEACHERS TO COME BACK TO SCHOOL.
VICTOR: New Durango 9R Superintendent Keith Owen his first six weeks on the job.
Owen succeeds Mary Barter who retired June 30th after 9 years leading the district.
He hosted a meet and greet at Miller Middle School last evening.
He says he's looking forward to the school year.
As he told us in May, he still wants to develop a strategic plan to guide the system for the next four or five years.
But he's also set some goals for the first 100 days of the school year.
OWEN: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'M REALLY TRYING TO FOCUS WITH STAFF ON IS INSURING THAT ALL STUDENTS ARE LEARNING, IS A KEY PIECE THAT I WANT TO MAKE SURE WE SPEND TIME ON THIS YEAR. ANOTHER IS REALLY WORKING IN A SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION, FOCUSING ON COLLABORATION WITH EACH OTHER. I THINK THERE'S BEEN SOME ISSUES MAYBE IN THE PAST AND I REALLY WANTED TO RESTORE THAT TRUST IN THAT AREA. AND THE THIRD IS REALLY FOCUSING ON RESULTS, USING RESULTS AND DATA TO REALLY SHOW WHETHER WE'RE REALLY DEMONSTRATION SUCCESS OR NOT.
Parents, teachers, and even some students were on hand for the event.
Several talked about their expectations for the new superintendent of Southwest Colorado's largest school district.
Jesse Hutt had just signed up her child at Miller, and took a few minutes to meet Owen.
HUTT: I THINK HE HAS A LOT OF STAKEHOLDERS AND IT'S A TOUGH JOB TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS. I HOPE HE CAN BALANCE THAT AND MOVE FORWARD INSTEAD OF JUST BEING A SITTING DUCK, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING. BUT THE THING I ALWAYS NOTICE, DO YOU MAKE EYE CONTACT, ARE YOU GENUINELY INTERESTED IN THE PERSON YOU ARE SPEAKING WITH, ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE CHILD, NOT JUST THE PARENT, AND I HAVE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION.
Escalante Middle School teacher Walt Duhaime has one major expectation of the new superintendent.
DUHAIME: STRONG LEADERSHIP, FILLING IN THE GAPS. WE'VE KIND OF HAD A POWER VACUUM FOR THE LAST SCHOOL YEAR WITH PEOPLE LEAVING AND WE NEED A LOT OF DIRECTION.
Mimi Thurston, a special education advocate, says she's hoping Owen brings change.
THURSTON: THERE'S A LOT TO DO IN THE DISTRICT. I THINK OUR DISTRICT IS FINE IN MANY WAYS BUT I THINK THE NEW ENERGY, THE FACT OUR NEW SUPERINTENDENT IS YOUNG AND HAS CHILDREN IN THE SYSTEM IS GOING TO BE WONDERFUL AND A POSITIVE STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
Nancy Heleno, who says she's a writer and researcher on childhood brain development spent some time talking with Owen and the two plan to get together again.
HELENO: I HAVE A LOT OF EXPECTATIONS. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM SPECIFICALLY INCORPORATE THE LATEST CLINICAL RESEARCH ON LEARNING, THE WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY THAT WE HAVE COGNITIVELY IN OUR BRAINS, BRING THAT INTO THE CLASSROOM SO WE CAN TEACH OUR KIDS TO BE PROBLEM SOLVERS, TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO WORK THROUGH PROBLEMS AND TO HAVE CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS.
VICTOR: AND YOU TOLD HIM THIS?
HELENO: YES!
VICTOR: AND HOW DID HE REACT?
HELENO: POSITIVELY, HE AND I ARE GOING TO MEET SEPARATELY AT A LATER TIME TO DISCUSS IT FURTHER.
Chances are Heleno will wait at least a week, while Owen and his staff prepare for the opening of Durango schools, one week from tomorrow.
Ignacio schools also begin classes next Wednesday.
Bayfield's first day is next Tuesday.
Aztec 6th and 9th graders report Friday, all classes in Aztec beginning Monday.
Bloomfield Kindergarten, first, fourth, seventh and ninth graders return the 20th, all grades the 21st.
Farmington Municipal Kindergarten, sixth and ninth graders report Friday with all students returning next Monday.
Montezuma-Cortez, Dolores and Archuleta schools all begin classes September 2nd.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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