Dr. Jesse Hutt, a co-founder and decadelong supporter of Animas High School, was named Charter School Advocate of the Year by the Colorado League of Charter Schools at the league’s annual conference Friday in Denver.
“This award is not for me personally, but for everyone who has worked to establish and sustain Animas High School,” Hutt said in a telephone interview. “It’s for all the supporters, the staff, the students, the families and the community for showing support.”
AHS Head of School Sean Woytek said Hutt was part of the original group that organized and worked to open the charter school, which has a curriculum based on project-based learning.
“She saw the need for other educational options in Durango, and she gathered with parents and decided to move forward,” Woytek said.
Much of the fundraising and curriculum development at AHS was spearheaded by Hutt, Woytek said.
“She’s told us the school is about the students, the parents and the community. It’s bigger than one person,” he said.
Hutt, a pediatric oncologist, said when she was first working on Animas High, she was practicing as a general pediatrician and was spurred to action by children who were uninterested and uninspired by school.
“They couldn’t wait to be done,” she said.
Initially, the challenge to opening the doors at Animas was convincing the community that options were needed, she said.
Now, as a member of the AHS board of directors, she said the next stage of development for AHS will be building the resources to open a new and permanent school building.
“Right now, we have a facility that doesn’t enhance the educational experience,” she said.
Each year, the Colorado League of Charter Schools honors exceptional leaders for their support of charter schools in Colorado.
Other awards given out Friday went to:
Mary Faith Hall, executive director and head of Upper School at Thomas MacLaren School in Colorado Springs, Charter School Leader of the Year.Lauren Martinez, special education teacher at Mountain Song Community School in Colorado Springs, Charter School Educator of the Year.Violeta Apodaca, high school administrative assistant at Pinnacle Charter School in Federal Heights, Most Valuable Charter Contributor.Terry Croy Lewis, executive director of the Charter School Institute in Denver, Authorizer Award.E.D. Hirsch Jr., founder and chairman of Core Knowledge Foundation in Charlottesville, Virginia, Lifetime Achievement.Hugh Fowler, founder of two charter schools in Colorado, Lifetime Achievement in Advocacy.firstname.lastname@example.org