New Curriculum Directors

Garfield Re-2 announces new Directors of Curriculum, Assessment & Student Success
Posted on 06/24/2022
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Garfield Re-2 announces new Directors of Curriculum, Assessment & Student Success
RIFLE – At the June 22, 2022 School Board meeting, the board approved Simone Richardson as the new Garfield Re-2 Director of Elementary Curriculum, Assessment & Student Success and Jacob Pingel as the new Secondary Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Student Success.  

Richardson and Pingel will take over in early July for Julie Knowles, who is retiring after 25-years of service to the Garfield Re-2 School District.

Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Heather Grumley explained that Knowles’ shoes will be hard to fill. 

“We had the benefit of an educator who grew from a teacher in our district to the leader of curriculum. Her depth and breadth of knowledge is unparalleled. Her grace, intellect, and overall presence will be greatly missed in Garfield Re-2. She has truly made a difference in the lives of children and educators,” said Grumley. 

Because of the increasing requirements around curriculum and assessment, Grumley and the School Board agreed to split the position from one to two - one with an elementary focus and the other with a secondary focus.

“The needs of our elementary students and teachers are different than the needs of our secondary students and teachers. We knew we needed to provide voice and focus to differentiating those needs. This transition provides Garfield Re-2 the opportunity to do so.”

Funding to support the two positions, in part, will come from federal grants.  Additionally, said Grumley, this move helps prepare the district for the future. Other long-term employees are preparing for retirement and some of their duties will be absorbed into these new positions.

Simone RichardsonRichardson began her Garfield Re-2 career in 2000 as a second grade teacher at Roy Moore Elementary (now Cactus Valley Elementary). She served as academic coach for 11 years at Cactus Valley Elementary and Graham Mesa Elementary before transitioning to the Assistant Principal position at Cactus Valley Elementary in 2018.  Richardson holds a degree in Academic Leadership from Colorado University-Boulder and Masters of Science from Capella University in Reading Literacy. 

Pingel will move from his current position as Assistant Principal at Rifle High School where he supports instructional coaching, the MTSS process and the Instructional Leadership Team.  Prior to joining Re-2, Jacob served as an AP Spanish teacher at Central High School in Grand Junction. He holds a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from Lamar University. 

Both are excited about the change in position and the chance to impact student achievement in a different way. 

“I am very attracted to working with data and educators and the systems of curriculum,” explained Richardson.

“That’s what I’ve thrived on in my career in schools as a teacher and a coach. The schools I’ve worked in, we’ve made a difference working as a team to embed these systems, so I’m excited to be at the district office, to see how high we can take the achievement in the Garfield Re-2 elementary schools.”

Richardson is ready to help teachers and administrators propel students to reach exceptional levels collaboratively. 

“I’m coming into this job excited to work with other schools,” she said. “I want to be another resource for thinking about WHHW (the teaching and learning cycle) as it relates to each individual school. I want to work together to impact the systems that affect student achievement - reflecting on data and creating plans to improve assessment and instruction.  We can no longer use COVID as an excuse for under-achievement.  It’s been a realistic impact, but we need to look at our baseline and grow from there.”

Pingel isn’t one to rest on his laurels. He saw the Curriculum and Assessment position as anJacob opportunity to support students at a different level and grow as a professional as well.

“I like to challenge myself,” said Pingel. “This role will require different skills than those that helped me be successful as an assistant principal, but it's still focused around kids. I enjoy learning, growing, and this was definitely an opportunity to challenge myself. I have a great amount of respect for the leadership team that we have at the district office and it’s an exciting opportunity to be able to work more closely with them, as well as with the school board.”

Pingel believes that his vast teaching experience will help him be successful in this new role.
“I've had a chance to work with kids at different levels and different pathways. I taught advanced students and I have taught all the beginners. I have experience redesigning what a curricular base, curricular philosophy, and scope and sequence beginning at the ground level could look like. I think that provides me with a valuable perspective because not every kid sits in the same pathway.”

Helping every student find their pathway is what he is passionate about.

One of the big lifts is really harnessing and providing successful pathways for all of our students - not just our advanced kids, but also our kids need an untraditional pathway including the workforce, or into the military, and harnessing how we are preparing kids for their next steps.”

Both Pingel and Richardson have been working with Knowles prior to her retirement and will officially take the reins on July 1.
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