Steamboat selects principal for new school on west side of town
Editor’s note: This article was edited to include more information about the principal’s selection and hiring. Jennifer Malouff will not begin her position in Steamboat until August.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs School District has selected a principal for its new school, just in time for her to help oversee construction and staffing for the unnamed pre-K through eighth-grade school that will be built near Steamboat II west of town.
Dr. Jennifer Malouff comes to Steamboat from Douglas County, where she served as principal of Saddle Ranch Elementary and an administrator for 10 years. She started her teaching career 24 years ago as an adaptive physical education teacher.
“It is rare for a principal to get an opportunity to open up a brand new building; it was hard to pass this up,” said Malouff in a phone interview from her Denver-area home.
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After vetting 18 candidates over the last two months with the help of faculty and staff, Steamboat Springs Superintendent Dr. Brad Meeks made the decision to hire Malouff after interviewing four finalists for the position.
“What stood out was her experience, especially her background as an elementary school principal,” Meeks said. “We felt very good about her organization skills, and she’s well respected by her peers. I think she has the experience and skill set to take on planning and opening a new school,” Meeks added.
Not only did Malouff teach PE for students with disabilities, she’s established curriculums for various schools while also teaching at all grade levels before serving as a principal and school administrator. Her extensive resume is dotted with exceptional academic achievement awards during her time as a principal.
Meeks and the hiring committee had to do the final four interviews via Google Meets because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite that, Meeks said Malouff’s hands-on social style came out during her interview.
“As you can imagine, as the school gets built, people will have lots of questions and want things like tours. … Dr. Malouff will be very comfortable dealing with presentations and meeting with people,” Meeks said.
Malouff said she was pleased to discover the district shared her commitment to educating the whole child.
“I got a really good feeling from them (school district staff) that they believed in educating the whole child by not only focusing on academics but also the social-emotional and physical wellness of all students,” Malouff said. “The idea of blending health and wellness with academic learning throughout day fits perfectly with my core beliefs.”
During her interview, Malouff also assured school district officials that collaboration on staffing and building a good program are essential.
“I function as a learner and leader,” she said. “It’s important to put all our ideas on the table to decide what’s best for students.”
Malouff will not start her new position in Steamboat until August. According to Steamboat Springs School Board President Kelly Latterman, it is customary for school districts to hire a principal in the school year prior to the opening of the school.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, construction on the new school was scheduled to begin this summer with an estimated opening in fall 2021.
Malouff’s husband, Adam, is an industrial electrician and her son Noah will be starting high school this fall. There’s also Mr. Chewy, their 7-year-old French bulldog.
“We couldn’t be more happy and excited to be part of the Steamboat Springs community,” Malouff said. “It has a beautiful small town feel, an amazing school district and very kind residents.”
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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