The Dolores school board has selected Elisabeth “Lis” Richard to soon take over as district superintendent.
Richard came to the Dolores School District RE-4A from Creede, Colorado, about three hours northeast of Dolores. She will replace interim Phil Kasper, who took over after Scott Cooper resigned last year. Her contract begins July 1.
The Journal asked Richard some questions this week about her experiences and priorities as she heads into this new position.
Where are you from?My husband and I have spent the last two years in Creede, and before that we were in the Front Range of Colorado. We lived east of Colorado Springs on the edge of Black Forest. We enjoyed living outside of Colorado Springs, but eventually looked forward to moving away from the hectic life and traffic of the big city.
Tell us about your career path. What led you to become a superintendent in Creede?I began teaching at age 20. Education has been a focus of my entire life. I was able to teach for 16 years at different levels of K-12 education, ending my teaching career in high school English.
I have been a principal and administrator for 16 total years as well. It seemed that any school or district in which I served, continued to move me to these positions. I began to develop a passion for supporting teachers and students.
I knew how difficult it was to teach with little administrative support and have grown to be a supportive and dedicated administrator. Superintendency is the accumulation of many years of growing and learning.
What draws you to Dolores?The people I was able to interact with in the interview process confirmed my desire to be in the Dolores School District. Our initial interest in the area came when we knew we would leave Creede. We have family in Montezuma County and have a desire to be closer to them.
What are your priorities going into the position?My first priority is to get to know the district. This includes the school board members, community members, community officials, staff, parents, and of course, students. I want to listen and learn as much as possible. From there, I will coordinate with the priorities of the school board as we move forward.
How will your past experiences help you lead the district?Hopefully, any past experiences have made me a better leader. I will glean on those experiences that are valuable and carefully lead forward for the district.
Dolores school leaders have been focusing lately on incorporating social emotional learning practices in the classroom. Do you have any thoughts on these initiatives?These initiatives are critical for student success. If students and staff do not feel included, secure, safe, with basic needs met, they cannot do their jobs. A teacher must be able to focus on the needs of his or her students, and a student must be in a regulated state to learn. Only through understanding the effects of trauma can a district staff provide a true balanced education for any student. I support these initiatives fully.
Acquiring grants and additional funding is a critical part of school operations. What is your experience in this realm?Financial needs are always great in education. I have extensive experience in bringing in extra revenue through grants and other sources. I look forward to helping the district find resources for needs.
What are some of your favorite activities or hobbies?My husband and I enjoy riding motorcycles all over the state of Colorado and take trips across the country as well. I am also an avid reader and enjoy sitting by a fire or sitting in the sun with a book! I have compiled quite a resource of writing that will one day provide material for authoring books on education.
Is there anything else you would like the Dolores community to know about you?I am honored and humbled to take this new position. Please know that my office is always open to the community. Please stop by and share your thoughts and opinions.