Those who have strong leadership, drive and — most of all — passion, are key components to shaping a thriving community.
Sara Linsacum is no stranger to such skills and continues to make a dent in Craig through a strong internal drive that makes her this week’s Hometown Hero.
Born and raised in Baggs, Wyo., Linsacum’s pride shines through when she talks about how her hometown shaped her strong work ethic and enthusiasm for sports and education. She graduated from a K-12 school that had only 16 kids in her class throughout her schooling.
“I graduated with the original 16 kids I started first grade with,” she said. “So I’m a small-town girl.”
Growing up, athletics played an intricate part in her life, making it a good fit for her to take on various sports leadership roles at Moffat County School District.
“I love being around kids, and I love being around sports,” she said.
She’s had her hands in almost every athletic cookie jar within the Moffat County School District with the exception of wrestling, soccer and football.
Currently, she coaches middle school cross-country and track, which are her strong suits. She got a track and field scholarship to Chadron State College in Nebraska, where she majored in physical education and health with an endorsement in coaching.
During Christmas break her senior year in college, she returned to the area and met Travis Linsacum — the man of her dreams. They quickly fell in love and maintained a long-distance relationship while she finished her final year in college.
“Travis is a Moffat County boy. He was born and raised here,” she said. He works in heavy machinery at Trapper Mine and is an athlete himself.
In 2008, the couple got engaged, and Sara became a student teacher at Sunset Elementary in physical education.
Not knowing what the future held for her, she figured she would be a substitute teacher for a year. Yet, the school district had something else in mind.
She was asked to teach kindergarten at Sunset Elementary — a role she held for five years prior to becoming a third-grade teacher at Sunset this fall.
“So I’ve taught kindergarten all the way up until this year, and now I’m teaching third grade,” she said. “Kids are still curious and they wonder about life and they still want that relationship with you no matter what age they are. I love it. I love third grade.”
Not only is she tackling a new role within the school district, she’s also set to receive her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Chadron in December.
Her ultimate goal is to become an athletic director within the school district. Yet she has other roles to complete first.
In addition to her teaching and coaching, she also sits on the Moffat County Booster Club and Craig Parks and Recreation boards.
“She’s a busy bee. She’s so involved,” Travis said. “She just does it because it’s her passion. It’s what she believes in, and she wants to make this town a better place for everyone.”
You can see that passion in her eyes as she talks about the community, teaching, athletics and her family.
Two years ago, Travis and Sara had Tinsley — adding another girl to the Linsacum chain. Prior to meeting Sara, Travis had daughter Jayden, who now is 8 and in the third grade. Family means everything to Sara.
“We’re pretty fortunate,” Travis said.
Sara believes she can help make the school district and learning better through her roll as a leader and instructor with Understanding By Design, which is a new way of teaching children how to learn.
“It emphasizes training backwards. It’s going to be very powerful for our students,” she said. “It’s not about learning about facts anymore. It’s about teaching kids how to critically think and problem solve, so it’s something I’m very passionate about.”
She’s also passionate about helping the community find fun and healthy activities, which is why she started the Dirty Dawg Dash — a 5K mud run — this summer. It was a big success and she looks forward to its second installment next year.
Additionally, she’s starting to see areas that need improvement within the school district’s sports programs and creating new ways to fill the void.
“So I’m starting to see where our gaps are with sports, and one I could see was the girls weren’t getting their hands on volleyballs at a young age,” Sara said, so she started a three-day volleyball camp for first through eighth-grade girls this summer. A total of 60 kids signed up for the program — a reward for her insight and hard work.
“I think good things happen to people who work hard, and I work hard,” she said.
“To me, being involved in our community is about setting up a future for my daughter and all these kids I’m so invested with in school and with coaching.”
Noelle Leavitt Riley can be reached at 970-875-1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.