Struggles as student inspire new Edwards principal |

Struggles as student inspire new Edwards principal

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado
Preston Utley/Vail DailyTracy Barber, left, a teacher at Brush Creek Elementary, shares a laugh with fourth grader Lexi Peters Tuesday in Eagle. Barber will be the principal at June Creek Elementary, the new school being built in Edwards.

EAGLE, Colorado ” Ask Tracy Barber why she got into teaching, and she’ll talk about her own, tough days as a student.

For whatever reasons, Barber didn’t click with teachers and felt like she fell through the cracks, she said.

“I struggled academically, and I didn’t make any connections,” Barber said.

Barber, now a master teacher at Brush Creek Elementary, will be the first principal at June Creek Elementary, the new school being built in Edwards.

“You kind of have an opportunity to make sure more kids are able to have a better education, that they aren’t able to slip through like I did,” Barber said.

The school will be in Edwards, about half-way between Avon Elementary and Edwards Elementary. It’s also next door to Berry Creek Middle School and Eagle County Charter Academy. It’s one of the projects promised in the $128 million bond question passed by voters in November, 2006.

Barber said when you start a new school, you have a chance to do things differently. So, she’ll be hosting a couple meetings with parents to get input on how the school should be run. She’ll ask parents their opinion on the school’s class schedule, the school’s mission and what sorts of things they want school resources spent on.

“I won’t be making any unilateral decisions to begin with ” I’ll be asking for their ideas,” Barber said.

Barber has been with the school district since 1999. She began teaching at Eagle Valley Elementary, and moved to Brush Creek Elementary when it opened. She’s taught first grade, fourth grade and fifth grade.

“I enjoy the challenge in how everyday can look different,” Barber said. “I enjoy the moment when you know you’ve taught someone something and you see the light bulb going off in their head.”

She’s now a master teacher, which means she spends much of her time coaching and evaluating other teachers.

Barber grew up in a variety different places ” Texas, Wyoming and Colorado ” but actually graduated from Battle Mountain High School. She has a 13-year-old son, a 150-pound English Mastiff, and enjoys knitting. She’s not much of a skier.

Before she started teaching, she served in the army as a medic. She graduated from college with a psychology degree, and wanted to get some experience and training in the army.

“It was a great experience, and I learned a lot about myself,” Barber said.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or

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