Letter: The essence of community service — Chris Gander | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: The essence of community service — Chris Gander

Like many parents, Chris Gander had a desire to see his daughters go to school in the community in which they lived, rather than travel on a school bus almost two hours a day. So when a group of North Routt parents incorporated the North Routt Community Charter School in 2001, the hard work began, and Chris wanted to help.

The mission was not only to create a stand-alone charter school but to also set a path for sustaining the school for future North Routt generations. After all, if starting schools from scratch was easy everyone would be doing it.

Chris believed in that vision and joined the board in 2003.

From the start, he and others spent countless nights in board meetings working on budgets, staffing and recruitment, all while working with each of the school's leaders to ensure that this community had a school to call its own. He found himself sitting at the kitchen tables of parents in North Routt to talk about the K-8 school created in the old schoolhouse building on Route 62, which grew to use an old barn and a gently used yurt.

In 2007, the school board recognized that as student enrollment continued to rise, our old buildings were insufficient for the student population and required 21st century technology and labs and necessary security features. Chris, fellow board members, school staff and philanthropists sprang into action, applying for and receiving a highly-competitive, state-sponsored BEST — Building Excellent Schools Today — grant to build the state-of-the-art building that we call home today, tax-free and debt-free to our community and school district.

From 14 students when Chris started his board membership to a thriving school of 93 daily students as Chris’ board tenure comes to an end is quite a feat for our rural community and testament to Chris’ commitment.

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Chris, we thank you for your 15 years of service. We thank you for all the late nights you worked on school matters. We thank you for the vision you had for our school and what it could be.

While many board members have dedicated significant efforts to further our school, you stand out as a beacon of light, making North Routt Community Charter School what it is today. Your hard work and passion for education have made your community stronger, and this school is thriving because of your community service and involvement.

North Routt Community Charter School Principal Brandon LaChance, staff and board members

Clark

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