World-class education is new principal's cup of tea
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO – When you meet Katy Kollasch, Eldorado Elementary School’s new principal, it’s easy to be drawn in by her enthusiasm and passion. She may be small in stature, but she packs a big Panther punch. Seriously—she kickboxes in her free time!
Principal Kollasch grew up and attended schools in England and Wales. Her first degree was in Consumer Science, and she soon realized that while she was passionate about several aspects in her field, she really did not want to specialize in just one area. A wise professor recognized this, and suggested she look into a degree in education. It was a perfect fit. “Now I get to infect other students with my passions,” said Kollasch.
After spending two years as a teacher in Fayetteville, NC at the secondary level—“one of the most incredible educational experiences of my life”—Kollasch accepted a job with DCSD to head up the Family Consumer Department at Mountain Vista High School. From there, she became the Dean of Students, and then spent four years as an Assistant Principal at ThunderRidge High School. Her talents did not go unnoticed. She was asked to consider taking the Eldorado elementary principal position. “The reason that I applied for the job was that in over almost 15 years in the middle and high school levels, I noticed so many challenges where I constantly found myself saying if only there had been earlier intervention,” said Kollasch. As an elementary principal, she wants to identify and help fill in those gaps.
While Kollasch is coming to Eldorado as a new principal, she isn’t looking to change the school’s traditions and community feel. “Eldorado is a well-established neighborhood school whose enrollment is declining. My first priority will be to really define ourselves. What I want to do is focus on it, celebrate and market it more effectively so that the neighborhood will be able to share the qualities that Eldorado has,” she explained.
Kollasch also talked about her leadership style. She really likes to get into the middle of things, and she is “…never going to ask someone to do something that I would not do myself.” Since March, Kollasch has spent one day a week at Eldorado meeting teachers, staff, students and parents. In May, she hosted a Tea and Crumpets event for parents, and met with about 50 parents. Her presentation of traditional crumpets and different spreads engaged parents and got them to try new things. She took that opportunity to sit down and talk with them. “A lot were concerned with building security, some parents wanted to know more about me, and others asked about changes at Eldorado. The community has been so welcoming,” she said.
Kollasch plans on attending as many events as possible, and wants to be the face of Eldorado. She is already thinking about hosting an afternoon tea with scones for parents this fall.
Kollasch’s own educational upbringing and philosophy is a perfect fit with the District’s Strategic Plan. “I absolutely believe in choice and providing opportunities to meet the educational needs of every child,” she said. Additionally, she comes from a background where teachers were paid for performance. “I have always worked my socks off because I knew it was tied to performance. I did not do it just for money—it is my own personal intrinsic drive to exceed in whatever I do,” she added. When asked about her views on world-class education, the answer was simple. “Here I am.”
During her interview with Dr. Fagen, she expressed her vision of world-class education with a simple example: Imagine watching three children on a Tokyo subway. One is local, the second from London and the third from New York City. The students from London and New York both recognize the book the Japanese student is reading. “All three of them have the ability to have a deep conversation from unique perspectives, and are open to each other’s views and ideas,” she explained. She added that by using world-class tools—perhaps even something as simple as a novel that is read all over the world—it allows students to interact and be competitive. “When all three students go for the same job, they each have an equal ability to get that job,” she added.
We are pleased to welcome Principal Katy Kollasch to the DCSD and Eldorado family, and also congratulate her on her recent marriage to her husband, Nick.