Long-time Basalt teacher named new RFHS assistant principal | PostIndependent.com

Long-time Basalt teacher named new RFHS assistant principal

Staff Report

Zoe Stern

Zoe Stern has been tapped to become the new assistant principal at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale next year, replacing Kelsie Goodman who is leaving to take a school leadership job in her home state of Iowa.

Stern is a Carbondale resident and has been a literacy teacher at Basalt Middle School for the last 10 years. Starting in 2013, Stern started taking on leadership roles in the district, including serving as the district's department head for middle and high school literacy and the middle school summer school principal. Stern will complete the University of Colorado's principal licensing program this summer.

"Zoe has great leadership experience and a passion for serving all students," RFHS Principal Brett Stringer said in a news release. "The committee was impressed by her experience, energy, drive, and commitment to supporting all students. Our school will be lucky to have her."

The hiring process to fill the position included the creation of an interview committee composed of staff, parents, and community members.

"The hiring process was thorough and inclusive," Stringer said. "An important part of the process was hearing from the school community what is important to them for this role."

Several attributes were identified as important, he said, including a strong connection to the community, successful classroom and leadership experiences, the belief that diversity is the school's strength, a commitment to building relationships with students and bilingualism.

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"Zoe's students consistently score well above state and district averages," BMS Principal Jennifer Ellsperman said of Stern's strengths. "Her intervention practices have increased at-risk literacy students' confidence and scores exponentially.

"And her parent communication is early and often — she communicates regularly about both growth and celebrations along with concerns."

Stern said she has a drive to become bilingual and looks to be able to support all students and families.

"I am committed to learning Spanish in order to integrate into the whole community," Stern said in the release. "Building trust and respect with the entire Roaring Fork High School is a top priority."

The committee expressed strong praise for Stern's enthusiasm, commitment to diversity, leadership experience, cultural competence, and the relationships she has built with students and teachers.

Mary Hernandez, a RFHS parent, English Language Development (ELD) teacher at Carbondale Middle School, and interview committee participant, stated, "Our community needs bilingual leaders who not only speak Spanish, but who highly value our community's cultural and linguistic diversity.

"I have no doubt that Zoe will grow in her Spanish fluency and she has already proven her dedication to embracing, listening to, and working tirelessly for all families," Hernandez said.