Dear Bayfield Staff and Families,
I want to first celebrate and acknowledge the extraordinary work and efforts of our extremely talented and dedicated educators and families we have here in the Bayfield School District. In a school year that has certainly been filled with innovation and challenges, we are grateful for the professionalism, commitment, and excellence of our teachers and staff who support our nearly 1,400 students on a daily basis. Our staff serves as instructional leaders, role models, social/emotional supports, advocates, cheerleaders, and mentors for each student, each day. I also want to thank our families and community stakeholders who have expressed confidence in our school district and supported keeping our schools open to in-person learning this year.
As our school year comes to a close, I want to take a few moments and explain our district-wide personnel changes and other news for Bayfield School District. Our leadership team is well-positioned to lead the district forward for years to come. Furthermore, as we hopefully see COVID-era challenges in the rear-view mirror, we are already planning for an exciting next school year. Let me be clear, Bayfield Schools remain a great place for each student, staff, and family, each day, as we all strive and work together to model the power and the strength of the Wolverine Way.
First, allow me to thank the following staff who are retiring and leaving our district after many years of service to our profession. This group of educators has given so much to our families and to our district. You will be missed, and know we wish you the best in your life’s next steps.
BIS | Joan Richardson
BMS | Donnel Gonzales
BHS | Jeff Misener, Sheryl Kaufman, Jeff Lehnus, Gary Heide, and Kellie Perry
District-Wide | Bill Bishop and Karen Rodberg
One of the many strengths of Bayfield is our school district leadership. We have been working to ensure we have inspirational leaders across our district and all of these new leadership hires, except the BHS principal, are already members of our Wolverine Family. I am so proud we can promote these fine educators from within our district who will all begin their new duties in July.
Leon Hanhardt will move to the district office as the assistant superintendent in place of the eliminated position of the director of instructional services. His years of experience at Bayfield High School and decades of work in education and career and technical education will be an asset to our schools and community.
Marcie Ham will join our leadership team as the new principal of Bayfield High School. Ms. Ham has been in education for 23 years and has been the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at Pagosa Springs High School since 2013. She received her Bachelor of Art Degree in History Education from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and her Master of Education Degree in Educational Leadership from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Prior to working at Pagosa, Marcie worked as a Dance/PE Teacher and Administrative Intern at Poudre High School in Fort Collins, CO, a History and Dance Teacher at Independence High School in Provo, UT, and the Spirit Program Director and Head Cheer Coach at the University of Wyoming. Ms. Ham becomes the first female principal of Bayfield High School in anyone’s collective memory.
Also moving from Bayfield High School’s assistant principal and activities/athletics director to Bayfield Primary School’s principal will be Derrick Martin. Mr. Martin has previous experience as a principal. Furthermore, he is excited to bring his years of teaching and leadership to our youngest learners and families.
We are proud that our current Bayfield High School Dean of Students, Andy Duffy, will be our high school Assistant Principal and Activities/Athletics Director. He has years of private sector leadership experience, combined with coaching and teaching experience, and he will be an immediate asset to the sports and activities at BHS.
Sam Hogue will stay with the district as our Human Resources Specialist as she continues to provide inspired service to our internal staff stakeholders, all while ensuring we have compliance with federal and state laws for employment and equal opportunity.
In a position change to ensure the technology investment across the district is integrated into each classroom, we have promoted Michelle Rayne from second grade teacher at BPS to our new Instructional Technologist position. Ms. Rayne has extensive experience in technology, as well as, she is a National Board Certified Teacher. She will provide extensive support to teachers and our staff working hard to implement technology and upgrade communication.
Amber Connet will remain at BIS as our newest assistant principal. She will have an expanded leadership role with district-wide responsibilities and coordinate with our deans of students, climate, culture, disciplinary practices, and restorative practices.
Our new leadership team is already planning for 2021-2022. Let me state again, I am very proud of all the leadership we have in Bayfield Schools and these leaders exemplify our dedication to our people and our growth of leaders, and with all these moves, we have saved the district over $50,000.
In addition to leadership changes, we have redesigned the district website. Aside from giving it a more contemporary feel, careful attention was given to improved navigation and ease of use for our community stakeholders. Thanks to Bill Bishop and our technology department for making this upgrade.
We knew for a year that we had to make budget cuts when we made the decision last June to keep the district personnel for what was going to be a challenging year. Our staff embraced the challenge, and we kept our schools open. We convened a group of 20 stakeholders in November and December to build a 31-page blueprint for cutting the budget in a range from $250,000 to $1 million.
Our board of education approved a plan in late March that cut $730,000 as we head into next year, but still did not completely balance our budget for next year as the plan still would require $159,000 from our savings account in the 2021-2022 school year. Every decision in this approved plan was painful and deeply personal as we had to cut multiple positions to work toward a more balanced budget next year. This plan is a starting place as we wait for the 2021 Colorado legislature to propose a school finance act.
As of now, we still do not have a funding number from Colorado. As soon as we know more details, we will examine this board-approved plan and then decide if we can add positions if we get more money from the state. That said, we have built the plan approved by the board assuming flat funding for next year. I wish I had more news to report at this time, but we should know in the next few weeks what the legislature is thinking.
Expanded Student Services
When our federal grant funds are approved, we will be posting an Academic Coach for our Native American students, who will help deliver academic intervention, social-emotional support, and academic advising to our Native American students. Furthermore, we are making changes in our delivery of language acquisition staffing to offer enhanced services to our students who are learning English. As with all our personnel moves, we are positioning the district to offer expanded services and increased levels of support across our district to each student and family.
Thank you, Bayfield Family!
I want to take a moment to celebrate our BHS Senior Class of 2021 who have endured and have thrived and then worked to overcome so much this year.
Thank you for your support and for being part of the Wolverine Family. As a society, I know we are all exhausted. Let’s use the Summer of 2021 to take a break, enjoy some family time, and reconnect with friends, as we all recharge and relax.
Dr. K. Kevin Aten
Bayfield School District
Superintendent of Schools