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Maybell school has new principal and teacher

Brian Rhodes is pictured in the back row to the right with the children he has taught since the middle of September at Maybell Elementary School.
Sasha Nelson

Maybell — Maybell Elementary School has a new principal and a new teacher this year. — Maybell Elementary School has a new principal and a new teacher this year.

— Maybell Elementary School has a new principal and a new teacher this year.

East Elementary SchoolEast Elementary School Principal Sarah Hepworth is also the new principal in Maybell, replacing Amber Clark, who was principal of Ridgeview and Maybell elementary schools before leaving the district at the end of last year. Principal Sarah Hepworth is also the new principal in Maybell, replacing Amber Clark, who was principal of Ridgeview and Maybell elementary schools before leaving the district at the end of last year.

East Elementary School Principal Sarah Hepworth is also the new principal in Maybell, replacing Amber Clark, who was principal of Ridgeview and Maybell elementary schools before leaving the district at the end of last year.

The greatest challenge Hepworth says she faces is the distance between the two schools.

“It is not as easy to just walk into a classroom, consult with an educator or meet with a parent when the school is 30 miles away,” Hepworth said.

She is using text and email to overcome the challenge.

As she learns how to provide leadership for the Maybell school, the community is playing an important role.

“I rely mostly on the parents, community and students to help me increase my skills as the principal of Maybell Elementary,” she said.

Teacher Brian Rhodes, is also new to the Maybell school and is one of the town’s newest residents. He was excited to start his position in mid-September.

“I had been asking about the position for a number of years. When I noticed the listing, I jumped out of my chair — that’s it,” he said.

Maybell school has 13 students in kindergarten to fifth-grade.

Rhodes taught across multiple grades when he was in charge of grades four and five at the elementary school in the small town of Moffat — not Moffat County — located in the San Luis Valley.

After leaving the San Luis Valley, he taught a single grade level in Dolores and struggled with the larger school and town when he learned of the opening at Maybell.

“The idea in a rural environment is that we are all out here together and it takes a village to raise a child,” he said. “It’s hard to make it. When everyone works together it makes it easier.”

It was Rhodes’ work for the Peace Corps in West Africa that helped him to decide to be an elementary school teacher.

“I lived in a 10-by-10 hut with a thatched roof and worked on girls’ education and empowerment to make schools more friendly for girls in a boy-oriented culture,” Rhodes said.

His work to empower children continues with an outdoor leadership school he has developed called “Cowboy Tough.” Through a partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife he is integrating outdoor skills with the curriculum.

“I believe we raise kids and not just teach. We are a really important part of their lives. Sometimes I am the adult they spend the most time with. It is a privilege to be a part of their lives, and I need to offer more than to just be a teacher,” Rhodes said.

The approach Rhodes takes in his teaching philosophy is well suited to the rural school setting.

“Socially, in the multi-age classroom, there is a unique opportunity for creating a family-like environment, in which all students feel almost like siblings and are valued where they are learning in all skills across all domains of development,” Hepworth said. “Mr. Rhodes takes full advantage of this as a learning strategy.”

Moffat County School Board of EducationMoffat County School Board of Education member Darryl Steele has been an advocate of the school, helping to reopen it after it was closed for the 2014 school year. member Darryl Steele has been an advocate of the school, helping to reopen it after it was closed for the 2014 school year.

Moffat County School Board of Education member Darryl Steele has been an advocate of the school, helping to reopen it after it was closed for the 2014 school year.

“We are very pleased with our teacher. We are also very pleased with Sarah Hepworth as our principal,” Steele said. “I think they are working really well as a team to make the Maybell school successful.”

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.


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