GLENWOOD SPRINGS — An educator with 15 years of teaching experience who helped develop a project-based learning school conversion in Fort Collins will lead Glenwood Springs Elementary School as it converts to an Expeditionary Learning school this fall.
Audrey Hazleton, a teacher for the past five years at the Olander School for Project Based Learning, a K-5 elementary school in the Poudre School District, has been selected by the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 as principal at GSES starting with the 2013-14 school year.
Hazleton, 40, just completed her principal training at Colorado State University, including principal internships this past school year at Olander and at Coal Ridge Middle School in Firestone.
“We believe her leadership experience in establishing a clear direction for a school will be extremely helpful in the conversion of GSES to an EL school,” Re-1 Superintendent Diana Sirko said of Hazleton.
“Audrey’s key traits include her creative problem-solving, her collaborative leadership style, and her genuine commitment to our students, community and our school,” Sirko said. “We feel fortunate to have her in our district.”
Hazleton will replace GSES Principal Penny McDill, who retired after the just-completed school year following two years at GSES.
Hazleton comes to Glenwood Springs with her husband, Chris Hazleton, who works as an education consultant, and their three boys, ages 9 and 7-year-old twins.
GSES was formally adopted by Expeditionary Learning Schools earlier this year to be converted to an official EL school, for which the projects-based model is a key component. The Re-1 school board also unanimously approved the conversion.
Although Hazleton has not been directly involved with EL Schools, much of her work in education has been around the projects-based learning approach at Olander, and through her earlier work as a co-founder of the Harbor City International School, a similarly-based high school in Duluth, Minn. She worked as operations manager at that school from 2000-2003, before she and her family returned to her home state of Colorado.
“This is a natural transfer for me with the skills that I have developed in working with these types of schools,” Hazleton said in a phone interview with the Post Independent on Friday. “I am really excited to be involved with the expeditionary learning group, because it is such a fantastic model.
“I’m impressed that the [Re-1] district has really gotten behind this model and has stuck with it,” she said. “Having that support will help us to move forward at Glenwood Elementary.”
Hazleton comes to the 565-student school from Olander, which has a slightly smaller enrollment of between 400-450 students.
She has been a fifth-grade classroom teacher at Olander since 2008, and has recently been implementing the new state standards through a project-based curriculum.
EL emphasizes intensive, hands-on learning through “expeditions” both in the classroom and out in the community, through civics projects and outdoor learning.
Hazleton said she also has experience working with English Language Learner students and their families, and will make sure ELL families at GSES are involved in the conversion process.
“A lot of the projects-based and expeditionary approach is around student-centered learning, and making sure students have a voice and a choice in their learning,” she said.
Prior to her work as a founder of the Harbor City International School, Hazleton taught in three other Duluth schools, as a second- and fourth-grade teacher at Kenwood Edison School and an environmental education teacher at Stowe Elementary. She was also a teaching assistant and outdoor program instructor at the University of Minnesota at Duluth.
She earned her master’s degree in education at the University of Minnesota, and did her undergraduate studies at Whitman College in Washington state.
Hazleton will be attending an EL leadership team training along with other representatives from GSES and the district in Salt Lake City. She will also attend a training for EL Schools principals in Massachusetts before taking the helm at GSES in early August.
“I’m impressed that the [Re-1] district has really gotten behind this model and has stuck with it. Having that support will help us to move forward at Glenwood Elementary.”