Employees tend to want to stay in their position when you encourage them and reassure them that they are needed and that the environment and mission as promised are intact. This goes back to over a year ago when Dr. Glass (Jeffco Superintendent) and Jeena Templeton (Manning principal) planned to reinvent Everitt Middle and provide Wheat Ridge and its community a middle school that would have the best resources and provide high excellence inside every classroom to every student, no matter what background they were from. This idea went so far as to bring Manning into Wheat Ridge and Everitt into Golden.
While I was privy to some of those conversations, I had no idea to what extent the plan went. I was in the focus group Templeton had asked to compile a “What would it take to bring the community back to Everitt?” discussion. This was going to finally reward everyone that had been cheering for Everitt for so many years.
Fast forward and while the schools remained in their geographical locations, principal Templeton crossed over into Wheat Ridge and brought along some staff to help. Not enough to stop COVID-19, but they worked hard for a year to lay the foundation for what was about to become an incredible school that would attract students from other cities and varied demographics to create an environment full of diverse and motivated students.
If you read last month’s School Crossing column (“Local Schools Exploring K-8 Options”) you’ll remember that two local elementary schools were exploring the idea of expanding their curriculum to kindergarten through eighth grade. Both (Peak-Pennington and Prospect Valley) are feeder schools into Everitt Middle. Any disruption to that flow of students would have a financial effect on a school the community was rallying around.
What it also did was throw doubts in to Principal Templeton about just how sincere the district was about the Everitt project. Where were those plans coming from? Peak’s principal assured Templeton that his explorations had the “backing of the highest level in the district.” By the time the issue was formally discussed and dismissed by the board of education, Templeton had completed her Ph.d. in education and was lured by greener and more stable pastures. Her resignation from Everitt Middle and Jeffco was announced last week.
A spin to the story of course, but make no mistake, we just lost possibly Everitt’s biggest advocate, except of course our community itself. Principal Dr. Jeena Templeton will be replaced by assistant principal Amanda Pouliot. Populiot came over from Manning with Dr. Templeton and will serve as Everitt’s interim principal.