By Guy Nahmiach
Chris Neville is the new principal at Maple Grove Elementary. I sat with him recently and asked him about his perspective on his new position.
What is your background? Where was your last job and why did you leave there to come here?
I am originally from Philadelphia. My grandma was an Eagles fan and so am I. I spent most of my life in upstate New York near Vermont. In 2007, I moved to Colorado with my beautiful wife because I love the outdoors. I worked as a Special Education teacher in Jeffco eight years ago. I then went to Douglas County and worked as an Assistant Principal and Principal before being hired at Maple Grove. I left my previous school because I live in Lakewood and wanted to serve my local community. I also am a huge believer in the work Jeffco is doing for kids. Giving students ways to demonstrate their knowledge with real world projects engages them and deepens their learning.
Is it less pressure, or even more, to become the leader of a hugely successful school?
I love my job. Being hired at Maple Grove is a tremendous opportunity and I consider it a gift that I get to serve the students, staff and families of Maple Grove each day. The previous success of Maple Grove has laid the groundwork for me to help Maple Grove continue to thrive. At this point, I am feeling excitement and not pressure.
Both Maple Grove and Prospect Valley schools are always accused of having it easy in terms of success, with having the “rich white kids.” How do you convey to the community that Maple Grove faces with the same challenges as everyone else in Jeffco?
I would say that children are unique, complex and interesting. Each group of students presents their own set of unique challenges and opportunities for success. As educators, it is our responsibility to meet the needs of the students within our school community. While the challenges we face are not the exact same, all schools face complex issues without easy answers.
What are your top two goals this year?
1) Every child has the opportunity to engage in a real-world learning experience that gives them the opportunity to use the knowledge we have taught them.
2) We demonstrate a higher level of academic achievement in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics on CMAS (statewide academic testing).
Contact Principal Chris Neville at 970-633-2115.
Questions for this guest writer or suggestions for future guest writers should be sent in to Guy@NostalgicHomes.com