Familiar faces to lead Glenwood schools | PostIndependent.com

Familiar faces to lead Glenwood schools

Jury Jerome Post IndependentAug. 8 is the first day of school, but not just for the students this year. Kathy Whiting (left) will be Sopris Elementary School's new principal. Glenwood Elementary School will also have a new principal, Penny McDill (right). Both educators are excited to be joining the Glenwood Springs school system. Whiting will be moving from Basalt Elementary, and McDill is coming from Crystal River Elementary.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Roaring Fork School District Re-1 has promoted two current assistant principals in the district to head Glenwood Springs and Sopris elementary schools next school year.

Penny McDill, who has been the assistant principal at Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale for the past six years, will be the new principal at Glenwood Springs Elementary School starting in August.

Likewise, current Basalt Elementary School Assistant Principal Kathy Whiting, a former longtime teacher at both Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork high schools, will take the reins at Sopris Elementary School, also beginning in August.

Both Whiting and McDill are Glenwood Springs-area residents.

“I’m excited to be able to support the needs at Sopris Elementary; it’s a great opportunity for me, and I feel I have some things to offer them,” Whiting said.

Whiting has spent the last year at Basalt Elementary, following a long teaching career in the Re-1 School District. She has a master’s degree in reading education, and is licensed in multiple areas, according to a district press release.

“My year here at Basalt Elementary has been an extremely rich and rewarding experience,” said Whiting, who taught 13 years each at RFHS in Carbondale and then at GSHS.

While at GSHS, she was also the teacher sponsor for the Future Business Leaders of America program, and she formerly coached the girls golf team at the school.

She replaces founding Sopris Elementary School principal Howard Jay, who retired after this school year following a more-than 25-year career with the district.

Whiting’s own two sons started at SES when it opened. One has since graduated from college and another is a college junior, she said.

Joe Sprick will continue as assistant principal at SES.

McDill will replace Sonya Hemmen as the new Glenwood Springs Elementary (GSES) principal. (See related story updating Hemmen’s new job)

“I’m very excited, and can’t wait to get started,” said McDill, who also has had a long career in teaching and school administration.

“Glenwood Elementary has a lot of similarities to Crystal River Elementary, in terms of its student population and some of the struggles,” she said.

McDill holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and technology. Prior to her position at Crystal River, she was an assistant principal in Mesa County for four years. She also spent 16 years as a classroom teacher in Wyoming.

She has a background in elementary education and special education, and is bilingual.

GSES, like CRES in Carbondale, has a large second-language Latino population, a fact that has contributed to lower student achievement test scores over the years.

“Student achievement for all students is a goal of the district, and we need to make sure the kids are getting the skills they need,” McDill said. “We also need to make sure all people feel welcome, and are embraced by the school.”

Current assistant GSES principal Dave Anson, who has been acting principal at the school since early April, will remain as assistant principal for next school year.

The interview process for both Re-1 principal positions involved district administration, teachers, school staff, parents and board members, according to the district’s press release announcing the appointments.


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