From Kuwait to Parker 1

New principal approaches her job from a worldly perspective

Kimberly Seefried brings her experiences from across the globe to her role as the new principal at Frontier Valley Elementary School.

The teacher-turned-administrator recently returned from Kuwait, where she taught second grade for one year and where her husband, Michael, remains as the principal of a middle school. She also spent four years earlier in her career working with her husband at international schools in Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia and the Ukraine.

“I think my world view has really been impacted by that and how I look at education, how I look at kids, how I look at what teachers do every day,” Seefried says.

Her most recent trip to Kuwait, during which she returned to teaching after working four years as an assistant principal and then principal in the Adams County School District 12, also gave her a fresh perspective for her new job, which she assumed in July.

“I think it really put me in touch with the feeling of what it feels like when the principal asks the teachers to do XYZ. Even though I thought I was thoughtful about those things as an administrator before, I think I’m even more so now,” Seefried says.

“We are really asking teachers to do a lot more than they ever have,” she says, adding that she tries to ease the load and “balance those things for teachers.”

She says she looks at what she and her administration staff can “take off people’s plates,” as she works to develop relationships with the teachers so that she can better understand how to meet their individual needs.

“I think if I’m meeting teachers’ needs, they’re going to be better able to meet kids’ needs.”

Seefried, who worked 18 years as a classroom teacher before moving into administration, also gives priority to children.

“My decisions are always centered around what’s best for kids first. I will always consider lots of different pieces around feedback in terms of a decision, but when it comes down to it, it’s always going to be about kids first.”

As a “newbie,” she says her priority right now is to connect and build relationships with families, students and staff at her school, which has 63 staff members and more than 600 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grades.

“I always tell the kids that come in to register brand new, we get to be new together, so you don’t have to be scared,” she says. “They always smile about that.”

And she is thrilled to be working at Frontier Valley for the Douglas County School District.

“I am super excited about being able to be in a school that has many experienced teachers who have been dedicated to this community. That’s an exciting opportunity that you don’t always see in a lot of schools these days.”

As for the school district, she says, she is “excited about the work that Douglas County is doing in terms of looking at education differently and transforming what we’ve thought about education in the past.

“I think one of the things that I’ve learned being overseas is that we are really preparing kids for things that we don’t really know exist right now,” she says. “We can’t do things in the same way that we’ve done things in the past. And so that opportunity to work in a place that has a vision for thinking outside of the box is exciting to me. I think change is an opportunity.”