Popular teacher stays with GOAL Academy, considered return to Moffat County High School | CraigDailyPress.com

Popular teacher stays with GOAL Academy, considered return to Moffat County High School

GOAL Academy welcomes a new director to its helm, while former director and founder of the Craig GOAL program Annette Burrow moves into a statewide math teaching position. Burrow had planned to return to Moffat County School District before landing the math position with GOAL. The academy is located inside Centennial Mall in Craig.

— Despite a new director and some changes in its staff lineup for the coming school year, GOAL Academy students will be greeted with mostly familiar faces, including that of Annette Burrow (formerly Annette McCurdy).

Burrow initially resigned from GOAL, accepting a position with Moffat County School District, only to change her mind and go back to GOAL under a different role.

She was the GOAL education zone director for three years, but then left GOAL earlier this summer to return to Moffat County School District as an alternative school and Advanced Placement study hall teacher for the 2015-16 school year.

When Burrow resigned, Nick Cocozzella, who came to Craig as a life coach for GOAL last year, took over as the education zone director.

Burrow's planned return to the school district was cause for excitement for MCSD administrators, who hoped she would bring students back to the district.

"That's who we look to hire is kid-magnets and people with good personalities that can make good relationships with students," said Moffat County High School Principal Kelly McCormick. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to get her back up here working with Moffat County High School."

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Burrow started the Craig chapter of GOAL Academy, an online public high school, three years ago when she was offered an academic coaching position. She left her prior position as para-educator and teacher for the MCHS alternative program when administrators offered the lead teaching position to someone else. When she left, 76 students from the high school followed her to GOAL, Burrow said.

"If I hadn't started it, I still don't think GOAL Academy would be in Craig," she said. "I love GOAL Academy, it was hard to think about leaving it. But I also love MCHS — I graduated from there."

When Burrow discovered that a statewide math teacher position was available with GOAL after she had submitted her resignation this summer, she applied for the position and decided it was a better fit personally and professionally than the MCHS position.

"I was just wanting out of the administrative role and back into the teacher's role because I missed working with the students," Burrow said. "I had really limited time to help the kids and that's where my passion is."

As math competency specialist, Burrow will be teaching about 1,200 students in three math courses statewide, though she will remain based in the Craig office.

Relations between GOAL and the school district remain good, she said.

"It's not whether they go up there or down here, it's what's best for the kids," Burrow said. "Kelly (McCormick) and Brent (Curtice) are about what's best for the kids, so we're all on the same page."

Burrow works with Curtice and McCormick through Moffat County Global, a collaborative organization formed last year that brings together representatives from local education organizations including the school district, GOAL Academy and the Northwest Colorado Homeschool Association.

GOAL students are able to enroll in up to two classes per year at the high school in subjects not offered through GOAL, such AP classes, band or other extracurriculars, and are also able to participate in sports.

It's all about meeting students where they're at, Cocozzella said, who's excited for the year ahead.

"I have some really big shoes to fill because Annette was exceptional at her job," Cocozzella said. "I have more of a technological background, so I will utilize the technology we have to make things easier on students and on staff."

Cocozzella also has a background in music — he was a nationally touring musician before entering the education field — and has put his recording gear and musical talents to use by creating a well-received music program for GOAL students.

With the first day of school for GOAL students less than two weeks away, Cocozzella is busy getting students enrolled, including recently completing his own music video for GOAL.

"For me, I just have so much love for these kids," he said.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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