Back to school: New man in town
IF you’re looking for Ted Shepard, you might not find Cedar Ridge Elementary School’s new principal in his office.
He could be observing a science project or reading to a group of kindergartners or a whole host of other things.
Shepard – who’s spent his career within District 70 — will tell you that he’s a hands-on kind of guy, and loves to jump in and help.
“I love to interact in the classroom,” Shepard said,
“And at this age, these guys really love that.”
Shepard spent the past four years at Pleasant View Middle School, where he served first as the Dean of Students and later as the principal after the previous principal retired.
But prior to working at the middle school level, Shepard spent nine years at North Mesa Elementary School, teaching first grade, kindergarten and Title I.
“When this position (at Cedar Ridge) came open, I jumped at it,” Shepard said.
“I wanted to get back to the little guys. My home.”
Shepard also previously lived in Pueblo West for eight years, so he knows the community and knows how supportive his staff and the parents will be at his new school.
Although there are days that Shepard misses teaching, he said he was always intrigued by administration because he “knew there were things I’d like to do if I was there.
“To me, there’s no huge difference between teachers and administration. “
They can put their ideas out there and it’s up to me to help bring them forward or fight what needs fighting for.”
Shepard said he knows the teachers in District 70 love their profession deeply, and he knows that’s where some of the best ideas come from, so he’s excited to take the ideas from Cedar Ridge and help them become reality whenever he can.
Showing just how hands-on and involved he can be, in his second year as Principal at Pleasant View there were some budget cuts.
To minimize the impact those cuts, Shepard jumped in to teach a couple of classes himself.
Shepard said he believes some of the biggest challenges facing him at Cedar Ridge are simply getting caught up on changes in curriculum and standards at the elementary level, since he’s been away for six years.
He most looks forward to watching “the light turn on” when young children discover or understand a new concept.
“They are learning so much, both academically and socially, at this age,” he said.
“You can see so much growth and it’s great.”
Shepard hopes he can lead his staff in continuing to grow in new academic standards so Colorado can again have some of the top performing schools in the nation.
He said he realizes the staff at Cedar Ridge already has high ratings and standards and looks forward to upholding those.
“I also want to continue the STEM and technology we’ve got going on here,” Shepard said.
“The primary reason we have the high standards are our teachers and community here. They’re great.”
Shepard and his wife, Leslie, have one son, a fifth grader who will move to Cedar Ridge with Shepard.
He grew up in the Pueblo area, where his parents were both teachers and graduated from County High School before earning a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Colorado State University-Pueblo and a Master’s in educational leadership from Adams State College.