North Routt Community Charter School opens school year with new leader |

North Routt Community Charter School opens school year with new leader

Ben Ingersoll
Zakkary Leftwich
John F. Russell

— This week marked the first days of class for North Routt Community Charter School students, and for the first time in nearly a decade, they will be under new direction.

Brandon LaChance took the reins as director, an opportunity that opened when former Director Colleen Poole let school officials know a few years ago that she wanted to retire before the 2013-14 year.

Poole’s retirement paved the way for a special hiring committee to conduct a national search to fill the spot. The committee was composed of board members, teachers, community members and Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks.

For LaChance, the decision to accept the job directing students and six educators was fairly simple: It was just the right time, he said.

“We are a very close-knit community and a close-knit school community,” LaChance said about the Clark area. “So when this role came up, it was a great opportunity to jump in and lead the school and continue to write the book of our charter up here.”

Despite the national search, the committee didn’t need to look much farther than its own backyard. For the past four years, LaChance served as the seventh- and eighth-grade teacher in the K-8 school.

Once the committee narrowed its search to five, the school board took over and appointed LaChance, which was an “easy decision,” one board member said.

“Brandon is an engaging personality,” board President Roy Powell said. “He was a very popular teacher. The obvious was he was one of our best teachers. … We found out he fit the bill to be a good administrator, director and leader for our organization.”

Powell and fellow board member Chris Gander noted that Poole was an instrumental part of the school’s rise, which included building a new $3.5 million facility. But under new leadership, both think LaChance can take the school to new heights.

“I think he is going to take us to a new place, and ultimately, we’d like to define how education can be,” Gander said.

Going forward, LaChance is more concerned with continuity than mass changes across the 80-student school. He said the school has had a “road map” for the past decade, and he plans to stick to the bill.

With the future in mind, he voiced his priority in sustainable growth for programs inside and outside the classroom. Such programs include the school’s Friday activity day, in which students backpack, hike, ski and bike, just to name a few.

“I knew when the time was right, and I had a long, hard process of thinking, and at the time, I thought it was meant to be,” LaChance said. “My passion and enthusiasm is for the whole school. I’m excited for all 80 kids.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204 or email

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