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September 9, 2012
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New leader settles in at Homestake Peak School

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado - Bobby Young moved to Eagle-Vail to enjoy the outdoors, and he's taking his classrooms with him.

Young is the new Homestake Peak School principal and comes to the Eagle-Vail school with a long history in expeditionary learning. He's a big fan of feet instead of seats as a teaching style.

Young spent four years as an outdoor educator at North Carolina Outward Bound School in Asheville, and the move to Homestake Peak seemed like a natural one.

In fact, he moved from North Carolina to Colorado in 2003 to Fort Collins to be part of a startup expeditionary-learning school in Fort Collins.

"School can feel like a lot of seat time; it can feel like punching a time clock," Young said.

Expeditionary learning leans more toward field work and activity, and Young said he prefers students be more active and engaged with their environment and local community.

Before landing in Eagle-Vail, Young was assistant principal at Lincoln IB World Middle School, where he ran the International Baccalaureate Program, supervising staff, special education and English language acquisition and coordinating international service trips to Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Young also led Lincoln's school accountability subcommittee for discipline and safety and was a liaison for student teachers from Colorado State University.

Homestake Peak is in the former Battle Mountain High School building in Eagle-Vail. The idea that kindergartners would be in the same school as eighth-graders was unsettling for some parents, but the renovation separates grade levels so kids are in school with others their own age.

"The school district did a great job renovating the building," Young said.

Homestake Peak combined Meadow Mountain Elementary School and Minturn Middle School, both expeditionary-learning schools.

The teachers and staff had already embraced the concept and curriculum, Young said.

"Homestake Peak is a good-to-great school, and it was running pretty smoothly when I arrived," Young said.

The parents and Eagle-Vail community have been supportive, Young said. Homestake Peak parents fired up the barbecue and threw a welcome-the-new-principal party.

Young will be returning the favor.

"I'll be hosting principal coffees each Wednesday morning from 8 to 8:30 a.m. in the conference room. Over coffee and conversation, I'll seek advice and feedback on all aspects of HPS," Young said.

Homestake is hosting its annual Back to School Night from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Young and his wife, Katie, have three children who he said are all settling in well and looking forward to the snow and getting on skis.

Young was born and raised in Wisconsin and said hunting and fishing were a means of both recreation and sustenance. He was introduced to canoeing, backpacking and rock climbing at a young age, he said.

In North Carolina, Young designed and implemented Outward Bound's staff training, created and delivered youth-leadership courses, guided at-risk youth through personal growth and conflict resolution and instructed canoe expeditions and rock-climbing programs.

Young is a wilderness first responder and Leave No Trace Master Outdoor Skills Educator.

In Fort Collins, Young served as Lincoln's curriculum coordinator, humanities teacher, outdoor educator and social studies teacher.

Young earned his Master of Educational Leadership degree in principal licensure from Colorado State University, a Master of Arts degree in English as a second language from the University of Northern Colorado and a Bachelor of Science degree in broad field social studies education (double majoring in geography and education and triple minoring in Spanish, psychology and anthropology) from the University of Wisconsin.

"We are thrilled that Mr. Young has accepted the position of Principal of Homestake Peak School," said Sandra Smyser, superintendent of Eagle County Schools. "From his wide range of academic experience to his expeditionary-learning outward bound mentality, Bobby brings an impressive background and the skill set necessary to continue to move this school and our district in the right direction."

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Sep 9, 2012 02:05PM Published Sep 9, 2012 02:04PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.