Summer’s end; teachers jump back in |

Summer’s end; teachers jump back in

Nicole Frey
Vail Daily/Shane MacomberA group of Minturn Middle School teachers get a chance to put their feet up for one last time before the school year starts.

VAIL ” Teaching ” it’s perhaps the only profession that allows adults to hang on to the childhood jewel of summer vacation. But like the children, teachers are heading back to school.

After months of leisure, teachers spent the last few weeks hustling to get their classrooms back in order and readying themselves for the new school year.

“We’re working really hard ” organizing, sorting, decorating,” said Holly Tranter, who starts her first year as Meadow Mountain Elementary School’s art and music teacher.

There are new curricula to learn, bulletin boards to create, lesson plans to write ” and let’s not forget the end-of-the-summer partying.

Teachers from all over the district got together at Ford Amphitheatre last week to listen to a funny motivational speaker, have some snacks and a few cocktails.

Schools also hosted individual events to help get their teachers back in the swing of things. Minturn Middle School teachers hiked up Arrowhead Mountain for a team-building retreat.

“We try to plan for the year,” said Lisa Guzman, who starts her first year at Minturn Middle. “We came up with new ideas and, as a new person at Minturn, I got to work with new people.”

Gypsum Creek Middle School geography teacher James Carullo, a teacher of 10 years, said he could write a lesson plan in his sleep. The biggest part of getting ready for school is the mental preparation … and drinking, he joked.

“It’s like the ripple went out, and now it’s coming back in,” Carullo said. “Our schedules are a big thing, too. We’re getting regimented again. We let things go in the summer.”

Kristi Scheidegger, a math teacher at Eagle Valley Middle School, said setting her alarm clock would be the biggest part of getting her back to school.

Soledad D’Avila has taught for 14 years, six of them at Avon Elementary School. Teaching the same material year after year could get stale, but teachers find ways to keep things fresh.

“Even if you teach the same curriculum, you’ve got a different group of kids,” D’Avila said. “They learn differently, they think differently. It’s always challenging and new.”

D’Avila will be part of Avon Elementary’s inaugural bilingual program, teaching in both English and Spanish.

“It will be a bit more challenging, but they’ll be able to be proficient in two languages,” she said. “As a teacher, I feel I am useful, like I’m going to have an impact on someone else.”

Theresa Carullo “looped” with her students at Eagle Valley Elementary School, meaning she taught her students through two grade levels.

James Carullo is taking on a new subject altogether, teaching seventh-grade geography for the first time after teaching sixth-grade math for years. He said he’s constantly on the lookout for new teaching trends and new materials to keep his students and himself interested.

As kids flood back into the classrooms, teachers are ready.

“I’m just looking forward to getting to know the kids,” said Sherri Holloway, a teacher of 20 years, who starts her first year as Meadow Mountain PE teacher.

With just 10 teachers at Minturn Middle, Guzman said teachers and students become one big family.

The sixth-grade math and science teacher, Guzman said she’s looking forward to exploring the Eagle River with her students, including a two-day rafting trip.

“I want to foster an appreciation for learning, for science and math,” she said.

While middle school-aged kids are though to be a tough age group as the kids go through drastic physical and emotional changes, Guzman said she loves it.

“Their energy is so fun,” she said.

Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927 or

Vail, Colorado

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