There are a couple of new things at Eagle Valley Elementary School this year - a principal and a preschool program.
Tiffany Dougherty started her job as principal at the end of July and has worked for Eagle County Schools before.
"We love it here," she said. "We moved to back to Tennessee for a while to take care of my husband's parents. It's good to be able to come back."
Dougherty replaced Principal Monica Lammers.
"(Lammers) left her position to pursue a doctorate, but she is still working with the district," Dougherty said.
Dougherty, 42, has worked in education for 18 years. Her three years as a school administrator started in Eagle County in 2008 as assistant principal at Brush Creek Elementary School. That was followed by a short stint at Avon Elementary School as interim principal. She has also taught kindergarten, second, seventh and eighth grades at various schools.
Since 2010, Dougherty has been the principal at Northwest Elementary School in Newport, Tenn., a prekindergarten through eighth-grade school with 425 students.
"That's roughly twice as many students as Eagle Valley Elementary," she said. "We currently have 270 students enrolled, but that number is going up by the day."
Part of the reason for the rising enrollment is the school's new preschool program. The tuition-based program was formerly the Red Table Early Learning Center in Gypsum.
"So now EVES is a prekindergarten through fifth-grade school, and there are still limited openings for preschool students," Dougherty said.
One of Dougherty's top goals as principal is to grow the capacity of the International Baccalaureate World School program there. The school's status as an IB World School was approved in January 2011.
"It takes years of preparation for IB approval," Dougherty said. "This is the only school in the district with that status."
The IB program curriculum is in addition to the relatively new Common Core State Standards curriculum. The IB program is intended to help children become global citizens, with an awareness for cause-and-effect relationships throughout the world. The curriculum framework consists of five elements: concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes and action. The knowledge component is developed through inquiries into six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, supported and balanced by six subject areas.
"IB and the Common Core curricula are not opposed to each other, but they are not the same," Dougherty said. "I want to learn more and I want the staff to learn more so we can better incorporate the two."
Part of the IB curriculum is a dual-language program. EVES already has dual-language programs for kindergarten and first grade but Dougherty aims to eventually have programs for every grade. The EVES dual-language programs involve English speakers learning Spanish and vice versa.
Another goal of Dougherty's is to improve communication.
"Communication is always a goal," she said. "I don't think a parent feels like he or she knows everything that's going on at school. Papers don't always make it home. I want to make sure parents have as much information as possible so that they feel informed about their children's education."
Dougherty said she uses Twitter and Facebook to help achieve that.
"The ultimate goal for the school is the adult we want to achieve," she said.
Dougherty earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Tennessee after her first daughter was born.
"Having that first child, I realized that children really are the future, as corny as that sounds," she said. "I was reading to my baby daughter and thought about how other people might not be reading to their babies."
She wanted to make a real difference for the future. So she left her job as a receptionist at an advertising agency and went to college. After teaching for a while, she became an educational specialist through Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee.
"An education specialist degree is beyond a masters but not a doctoral," she said.
She and her husband now have a total of three children, all daughters. The oldest is 21, pursuing a career in entertainment journalism. The middle child is 14 and will attend Eagle Valley High School. The youngest will be in third grade at EVES.
"We first moved to Eagle County in 2008 and it always felt like home," Dougherty said. "We have good friends here."