New principal says she's ready for school

New students won't be the only fresh faces on the first day of school at Ridgeview Elementary School.

Aug. 25 also is the first day for new principal Julie Baker.

And if all goes well, she won't spend any of her first hours on the job sitting down.

"I want to spend the entire day in the hallways meeting everyone I can, visiting classrooms and helping teachers," she said.

In her office she pointed to her chair, and said determinedly, "I don't want to shut my doors or sit in that chair at all."

But moving around a lot is not a unique concept to Baker.

Last year, the former Moffat County District teacher juggled the responsibilities of three jobs.

Her roles included acting as the dean of students at both Moffat County High School and Sunset Elementary School and serving as the principal at former Dinosaur Elementary School.

In her new role as the principal at Ridgeview, Baker wants to focus on to building and reestablishing "quality and trusting relationships."

As a result of growing up and attending schools in the Moffat County School District, Baker already feels at home. Her high school science teacher is Superintendent Pete Bergmann. As a parent, Baker sent her two

sons through the school she'll soon lead.

Throughout her seven-year history with the district, serving as an administrator on the elementary level is where Baker knows she'll fit best.

"Being in administration at the elementary level, I love knowing that if I'm doing my job like I should I can have a life-long effect on children," she said. "I also love working with teachers who have a passion for teaching."

With a little more than a week before district officials had to report back to school, the Ridgeview principal position opened up. Former Ridgeview principal for three years, Phil Thomas, turned in his resignation July 24 for a position that began Aug. 4.

Given such short notice, the school district only advertised the position locally, said Bergmann.

But even if the position could have been advertised on larger scale, Bergmann said, Baker was still a " perfect fit for the job."

"Julie is an outstanding candidate," he said. "She's an excellent communicator, highly organized and knowledgeable. I have great confidence in her stepping in and doing the job."

As Baker starts in a new career one thing she's looking forward to is "letting the grass grow under her feet."

She also wants to reassure staff and the community that she'll work hard alongside everyone to make positive change.

"I want to work with staff and be their partner in education," she said. "I want them to know that we'll always be in this together."

With a couple of new tokens of congratulations in her office, like the flowerpot filled with apple-shaped pens inscribed with "principal," Baker said she can't wait for the school year to begin.

Her office at the entrance to the school is strategically located to watch her more than 200

students enter into the building each day.

As Ridgeview's third principal in four years and the first woman leader of the school, Baker wanted to let everyone in on her long-range plans at the school.

"There's one thing I think people should know about me," she said.

"They can count on me to stick around. There's no place that I'd rather be."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or by email at ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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