New principal hired for Strawberry Park | SteamboatToday.com

New principal hired for Strawberry Park

Dr. Celine Wicks was recently hired as the new principal of Strawberry Park Elementary School. She comes from Rocky Heights Middle School in Highlands Ranch. (courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Having visited Steamboat regularly for 30 years, Dr. Celine Wicks will finally achieve her longtime goal of calling the Colorado mountains home.

Following the retirement of Tracy Stoddard, Wicks will begin the 2019-20 academic year as principal at Strawberry Park Elementary School.

"I am just so excited to be part of the community," Wicks said.

Originally from the Boston area, Wicks spent the past nine years in the Douglas County School District, most recently as principal at Rocky Heights Middle School in Highlands Ranch.

Wicks said she sees the role of principal, not as top down, but as a very collaborative structure.

A big part of her focus is on ensuring teachers are getting the support and professional development opportunities they need. "As long as teachers are growing, we know students are growing as well."

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Wicks brings "extensive experience in monitoring student learning progress, supporting teachers, differentiating instruction to meet the individual needs of students and effectively integrating technology into the classroom," according to the Steamboat Springs School District.

Wicks said she is excited about returning to the elementary school level, and "seeing and developing all of the foundational skills to get students ready for middle school and high school and beyond."

One of her favorite things about the age group is "seeing that pure joy of learning on the students' faces."

After spending the first half of her career in training and development of adult learning, Wicks went into public school education, teaching second, fourth, sixth and seventh grades, before becoming an administrator.

Being a principal, she said, is a perfect blend of those two worlds, especially with her emphasis on continued learning opportunities for teachers.

As Wicks and her husband looked for a place to settle in between her family in Massachusetts and his family in California, Steamboat "felt like home."

Over the years of visiting, she's gotten to know many people who live in Steamboat and loves the sense of community.

Wicks is also a champion of outdoor education and, herself, an avid runner, swimmer and snowboarder.

"Celine shares our passion for ensuring the best learning environment for all students," said Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks in a news release. "She has demonstrated a strong desire and ability to forge strong relationships with stakeholders. Our principals are more than just leaders in our schools — they are leaders in our community, and we believe Celine will be a wonderful champion for the Strawberry Park Elementary School community."

Meeks said there were 13 applications and four highly qualified candidates invited to interview.

Wicks plans to to relocate to Steamboat in June with her husband and two Labrador Retrievers.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @KariHarden.

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